“My mother tells me to fix my hair,” the poem starts.
Growing up in a Latino household, hair was more than something you styled. Our African, Spanish and indigenous roots all wrapped into the crown we call “pelo.” I have what many within our community would refer to as “pelo malo,” with hair that’s kinky and afro in texture. I love it! But that journey to self-acceptance and appreciation for my hair came after countless remarks, looks and questions (What are you going to do about your hair? You going to the salon, right?). And, yes, mi familia was included in that.
Our culture and society has enforced and embraced Eurocentric beauty ideals for centuries. So it puts a huge smile on my face to see that young women are speaking out through art and activism. One such woman is Afro-Latina poet Elizabeth Acevedo.
Watch as the New York-based spoken word artist and writer recites her poem, “Hair”:
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