We were attempting something my mother had never done before. She always did our heads well; alternating between box braids, twists, puffs, and cornrows. But for once, she let me and my little sister decide the style we wanted to wear and execute it ourselves. Excited with our freedom, we grabbed our plastic combs to get working on our hair. From back to front, we ran the comb through our locks like how we practiced on our dolls. Every knot, tangle and kink was released from our scalps and fell to the floor.

“Mine is straight! It’s straight,” my sister exclaimed.

In competition, I tempted her to feel how soft and silky mine was. We were doing it. My father, watching the ordeal from the kitchen table, chuckled to himself and then invited his two girls to come over and show him their new hair. He grabbed his camera, took a singular photo to document the moment and then told us to go look in the mirror. Ready to see the product of our hard labor, we giddily ran to the hall tree in the foyer. To our surprise, a full, thick halo of course 4c hair still surrounded our heads.

Words by Taji Phillips

Yemi Kolawole