“My mom is Egyptian and my father is Sudanese. I’m really grateful that my mom never relaxed my hair or made me feel like I shouldn’t love my hair. It’s straightened now, but my hair is really curly and I do love it. I think that I’ve learned to see the beauty in wearing both curly and straight styles. It’s crucial to understand that wearing your hair straight shouldn’t make you feel more or less confident. Overall, I’ve started to love myself more and I think living in a community where there are a lot of girls who are natural has been a positive influence because when I was younger a lot of my friends were white which influenced how I viewed myself as I got older. At the time, I clearly knew that I was different when it came to my hair and skin tone. It’s heartbreaking because I have relatives who bleach their skin and you see that they are more confident now because their skin is lighter. Now I have a lot of close friends who embrace being natural and that has had a positive influence on me to point where I am able to love myself and accept the fact that I’m unique. I shouldn’t see myself as less than someone else because I don’t fit this cookie cutter standard of beauty that doesn’t accept people who look like me.
I’ve started to wear my hair curly more often. I even do cornrows now. I’m forcing myself to learn more about my hair. During the summer, it was a huge shift for me because previously I wouldn’t have taken the time to twist or wrap my hair before going to sleep. I want to learn more about my hair and how I can take care of it instead of making myself look like something that I’m not. It’s crazy to me that colonialism has ingrained these crazy ideas into black people’s minds to the point where we’re turning into our worst enemy. This whole ‘light skin versus dark skin’ and ‘curly versus kinky’ stems from colonialism. To have someone from my own race say that I’m too dark is more disheartening to me than getting a racist comment from a white person.”