‘The Fine Comb’ is a spoken word film that challenges the audience through manifestations of white privilege. The film draws on the spoken word poem ‘Do Not Touch My Hair’ by Esther Ogunfeitimi, and identifies how a simple request belies compounding layers of privilege and oppression in equal measure. The poem and film identify the relationship between historical and contemporary attitudes towards race through the lens of a young black girl challenging expectation in defining her own identity.
Samiir Saunders is a visual artist, writer and filmmaker from Birmingham. He uses various media to illustrate themes of language, context, identity and fragmentation. His drawings are often identifiable by his distinctive recurring contour line motif.
do not ask to touch my hair
do you not know that these cornrows map
out my ancestor struggle to be free
these fur looks every knot untangle that
you touch with your callous palms run
through my fragile and brittle strands
the root of my tribe braid me into
liberation I will not be boxed up to fit
your model of the black woman’s form
each tie coil and defined cow power and
grown on a head of the Queen a symbol of
I will not straighten my roots make a
path for you or make the ride easier to
stomach I will not press down my
integrity / my individuality to make you
feel comfortable my ears bleed from your
ignorant stares like a bitter taste of
chemical to my birthright do not
categorize me in your simplicity no my
hair is not long for a black go yes I am
a black girl I won’t model out the white
girl won’t be marginalized a straight
bleached out package so to my
insecurities putting a price on my
beauty won’t stand under the underground
railroad to my freedom I’m not a
prisoner to your system I stand old Lee
while you use my maps to appropriate me
and steal my black and girl magic I am
an artist I create with these god-given
hands or the way I style my hair is
magic show you tricks you but never seen
before pain that only this type can
endure my path is an embodiment of power
like a raised fist I will not be your
Medusa all your Sara Baartman
my crown is not an exhibition for
examination I’ll turn your illiterate
mind to stone this hair has eyes that
see your judgment it is a voice for my
sister’s my diadem is not up for debate
do not touch my hair
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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