Damola.

Damola.

As I questioned my decision, tears rolled down my eyes as I looked in the mirror at the short curls that sat on top of my head.”
— Damola

Your mother had called it the “big chop”. You had rolled your eyes and asked her why she was being so dramatic about something as frivolous and trivial as hair. It was just hair. But two weeks later, as you stood in front of that mirror, tears rolling down your cheeks, you found yourself longing for longer, smoother hair -  your hair.  And so you shut your eyes tightly as if the tension in your face would birth you long, permed tresses but nothing.  Your mind drifted back to that Monday morning when you had sat in that salon chair, impatiently waiting for the razor to connect with the roots of your hair. You imagined and reimagined what this transformation could mean for you and your future. You imagined confidence, purpose and a reigniting of your ambition. But you never would have imagined that your legitimacy would be questioned, as if your afro spoke to your life’s journey; you would never have imagined that you would be perceived as unfit – unfit to be intelligent, unfit to be competent, unfit to be extraordinary. You would not have imagined that the world would remind you again and again that a black woman seemingly untouched by whiteness was unacceptable. Or at least you told yourself that this was unimaginable and yet you had always known this. But you remembered how you had walked into that salon glowing; how on that morning you had felt like the world was at your fingertips, and how for the first time in awhile, you had felt unbothered. So you swallowed your regret.

Words by Mumbi Kanyogo

Kristel.

Kristel.

Naomi.

Naomi.