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  • Writer's pictureAnabaptist World

This is why I don’t wear a head covering (Breaking the comb)

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Could it be That this melanin in my skin is indicative of inferiority within? Could this sun-kissed wonder Be nature’s blunder?

As a girl it was ingrained in my mind, baked into my scalp, That my hair was too much My dark was too much to clutch, not lovely as such As my lighter-hued sisters, pinch my skin, touch Ups every month of creamy crack is wack but oh so real To feel that comb slide through my kitchen like a white girl

I ask my daughter what she wants for her birthday She say, I want my hair to shake At only 3, already longs to be free So I braid as best I can, slip beads in, Refuse to be afraid of the Disney scam, seeds ingrained That to be a princess Requires we to be white like snow white Like death like blonde like frozen

But without sun, it is impossible to grow

So, just shake, baby girl, the world You whip your hair back and forth like Willow And if it be stiff, at least it’s still strong like Brillo Let them know that, that no lye, Conditioning relaxer cream is Just for Me And definitely not for you Let them know the truth

That this new princess here is enthroned to Queendom To skin so sun-burnt it’s beyond toasted, It’s beyond charcoal black, it’s blue It’s fire! A mindset rewired The flames engulfing, it torches, it scorches Thoughts of not being good enough, pretty enough Worthy of respect or Inferior on the interior You’re a force to be reckoned with A hurricane, fueled by Volcanic eruptions of beauty, it crashes Blazing a new crown for all

So, Cinderella, come sweep these ashes

Because it could it be That this pigmented skin Is Indigenous power and potential within That we are merely lightning and thunder wrapped in beauty … yes

We are melanated Wonder.

Celmali Jaime Okonji

Spoken-word poet and teaching artist

Missionary in Nairobi, Kenya

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