Hair

“I got tired of people stealing my culture so I locked my hair so you can’t get inside of it.”

00:02
So I spent most of the day trying
00:06
to flush yesterday’s alcohol out of my body.
00:09
I was in Tampa last night.
00:10
The turn up last night was real.
00:13
I was up early this morning trying
00:15
to flush yesterday’s alcohol out of my body.
00:17
I was in Starbucks, buying my expensive-ass coffee,
00:21
and this woman, she had this little stupid-ass grin
00:23
and little stupid-ass face.
00:26
I knew exactly what she wanted,
00:28
and I knew exactly what was going to happen next.
00:30
She maneuvered that hole at the bottom of her head
00:34
to ask me, “Can I touch your hair?”
00:37
Now keep in mind, she was already touching my hair
00:39
while she was asking me if she could touch my hair–
00:41
and I’m not gonna say her race ’cause race has nothing to do
00:43
with this poem– she’s white–
00:44
and says, “Oh my goodness, it doesn’t feel dry at all.”
00:47
Listen, no my hair isn’t dry or unkempt and contrary to your belief,
00:51
it smells amazing.
00:52
I’m black, us black folk have hair of wool,
00:54
skin of bronze, eyes like fire aflame.
00:57
These brass feet will Sparta kick you in the chest
00:59
if you ever touch my godliness without my permission.
01:02
You can’t touch my hair because I am not your motherfuckin’ pet
01:05
or specimen at a zoo.
01:07
Venus Hottentot told me to take it or nah,
01:09
and as an invitation to curiosity, your hands are dirty.
01:11
Don’t touch me with your backhanded compliments.
01:13
My history begins in my roots.
01:15
I let my culture drink my crown while the tips of millennia
01:18
rest on my shoulders.
01:19
There are strands of stories scripted at the top of my back
01:22
and, no, you can’t manhandle my mother’s narrative.
01:25
I’m protective over my temple.
01:26
That’s why I keep my birthright.
01:28
I got tired of people stealing my culture so I locked my hair
01:32
so you can’t get inside of it.
01:34
Don’t touch my hair.
01:35
I’m still cleaning your ancestors’ fingerprints off of it.
01:37
This is not just a hair, this is a heritage,
01:40
a representation of who we are.
01:42
We are black, we are adaptable,
01:44
we were born with thick skin to safeguard our hearts and hands,
01:47
on our tongues that clap back.
01:49
Don’t touch my hair unless you know each lock by its name.
01:52
See, this is Harriet, this is Henrietta, this is Oprah, this is Marley,
01:55
this is Kendrick, this is Cole,
01:57
this is Blue Ivy, this is Ghana,
01:59
this is Nigeria, this is Kenya.
02:01
All of it is Africa.
02:02
There’s a crescent continent from my spine to the top of my back
02:05
so I wear my hair like a sycamore fig away from the banks of the Middle Passage.
02:09
Don’t forget where you came from, and don’t forget where you going.
02:12
And don’t you ever, ever forget the women who twist, who cut,
02:15
who primp, who weave,
02:17
the women who sleep uncomfortably like this
02:19
and sit in the same spot for hours just to get their hair right
02:22
for nobody else but themselves and their family.
02:25
Myself and my family is not your goddamn sideshow
02:28
or to be fondled in the middle of Starbucks
02:31
while I am hung the fuck over.
02:33
So, no, Cruella de Vil, you cannot touch my hair with your rude ass.
02:39
(cheers and applause)

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