The Fine Comb


‘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.

[Music]
00:33
do not ask to touch my hair
00:36
[Music]
00:47
[Music]
00:55
[Music]
00:56
do you not know that these cornrows map
00:59
out my ancestor struggle to be free
01:01
these fur looks every knot untangle that
01:04
you touch with your callous palms run
01:06
through my fragile and brittle strands
01:08
the root of my tribe braid me into
01:11
liberation I will not be boxed up to fit
01:14
your model of the black woman’s form
01:16
each tie coil and defined cow power and
01:20
grown on a head of the Queen a symbol of
01:23
royalty
01:25
I will not straighten my roots make a
01:30
path for you or make the ride easier to
01:32
stomach I will not press down my
01:36
integrity / my individuality to make you
01:39
feel comfortable my ears bleed from your
01:44
ignorant stares like a bitter taste of
01:46
chemical to my birthright do not
01:50
categorize me in your simplicity no my
01:53
hair is not long for a black go yes I am
01:56
a black girl I won’t model out the white
01:58
girl won’t be marginalized a straight
02:00
bleached out package so to my
02:02
insecurities putting a price on my
02:04
beauty won’t stand under the underground
02:09
railroad to my freedom I’m not a
02:12
prisoner to your system I stand old Lee
02:17
while you use my maps to appropriate me
02:20
and steal my black and girl magic I am
02:26
an artist I create with these god-given
02:30
hands or the way I style my hair is
02:33
magic show you tricks you but never seen
02:35
before pain that only this type can
02:41
endure my path is an embodiment of power
02:44
like a raised fist I will not be your
02:51
Medusa all your Sara Baartman
02:53
my crown is not an exhibition for
02:55
examination I’ll turn your illiterate
02:58
mind to stone this hair has eyes that
03:01
see your judgment it is a voice for my
03:04
sister’s my diadem is not up for debate
03:11
do not touch my hair
03:18
[Music]
03:52
you

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