Standing in front of a bathroom mirror trying to hide my curls in a sleek ponytail before heading off to school. Now I’ve grown to love my curls - frizz and all.
— Meki

You were your mother’s light and hope and so you knew that you were destined for greater things, but black hair wasn’t professional - or at least that’s what you’d come to believe. You’d grown up seeing and then believing that you would have to spend your mornings in front of bathroom mirrors smothering your edges with Eco gel, coercing your curls into sleek ponytails every morning to make yourself seem smart enough, competent enough, strong enough to conquer the world, even when you’d seen your mother’s own pony-tail swinging back and forth as her back broke over and over. This world spits on the faces of black women with frizzy curls, but it also spits on the backs of black women with sleek ponytails. That is a lesson you learnt from the faces of black women who found themselves looking for oxygen between broken backs and a gun. Women like Rekkia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Korryn Haines - women whose heads wielded kinky curls and sleek ponytails alike. Women whose backs are now six feet under, with no more mornings to love themselves into existence, let alone concoct new ways to make black woman seem smart enough, competent enough, strong enough to conquer this white, white world. Black girl, black woman please remember that every time you wake up in the morning and choose to live, you have already conquered the world - whether your edges are laid or not.

Words by Mumbi Kanyogo

Yemi Kolawole