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"My mom owned a hair salon for 25 years, and I have seen every texture, every color, every length, and I was always taught from a young age that good hair is healthy hair. 

[As black women], we are so hard on ourselves. After people saw my hair for the first time [shaved after wearing it below the shoulder], I got all the backlash. There were a lot of jokes; people who just flat out say, “You’re ugly without your hair.” On Twitter, it was the No. 3 trending topic. I was like, These are my people and this is what is important to them? I have family that still has those attitudes [of light skin and long hair being automatically better than dark skin and short hair].

I think that when I was younger, I may have tried extra hard to be like, Let me get dirty. I think my mother, whether she would admit it or not, overcompensated in ways to do the same, because she felt like people would think she was too bougie. She even told me when she was younger she went through this Angela Davis phase where she would put sand in her hair. Clorox in her hair to make it coarser because she always felt like people were judging her to be that typical lighter-complexioned, fine hair, green-eyed woman. 

We had so  much resentment growing up. My mom, who is [Louisiana] Creole, was so protective against family influences. She was scared for us, because many of my cousins still are doing brown paper bag tests [meaning if you’re lighter than a paper bag you’re okay and if you’re darker are not], maybe not literally…

After I had my son, and I was married, I wanted to be the typical pretty, long-haired trophy wife. That’s when I started wearing weaves—long and blonde. I would cook three meals a day, be with my baby, clean the house, and bring cookie’s to my ex-husband’s football team. But as soon as we broke up, I was like, This shit is gone! [Laughter] This doesn’t even look right with my skin tone. Since then I’ve done whatever the hell I wanted.

Can we talk about how many people have given me these kind hugs when I had a weave?…

When I cut my hair off, I felt liberated. I felt like the time, energy, and money that I was putting into maintaining everyday could go to maintaining myself, my emotional and my mental growth.”

Solange, excerpts from her interview in “The Root of The Issue(Essence magazine, 2009)

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