Ode to Da Curls In My Hair ©Dawn Minott |for Black History Month, with audio

My curls are kinky
They coil to the twist of their own internal rhythm
So twisted—me and my curls—we had a love-hate thang going
‘Cause others didn’t understand ‘em
They couldn’t really teach me to ‘preciate ‘em
And ‘cause I wasn’t woke enough to defend ‘em
I kinda sorta love-hate ‘em

My curls are wool-like
Pulled over eyes, they can be deceptive
They’ll coil up tight and shrink to scalp at even water’s sighting
They make for a beautiful ‘fro
Exposed to the elements for too long though
They’ll defy any comb’s attempts to un-kink their flo’

My curls have been terribly misunderstood
Their fullness and density been processed to straightness
They been pressed, relaxed, texturized, straight-out-flattened
Clipped, chopped, colored, razored
Braided, weaved, locked, cornrowed
And they been greased, greased and mo’ greased

My curls are acrobatic
They’ll flip and bounce, changing with my every mood
And they’ll totally flip at even the sign of uninvited touch moves
Egocentric—yeah, they are—they regard only me
Me and my curls now, we got mad chemistry
One-hundred-percent-LOVE-only y’all—that’s we

My curls evolved empowered—now they’re unapologetic survivalists
Every natural kink in bouncebackability mode
Defying every relaxer, every straightening comb
They curl unmolested into their resilient-mystique self—whole
Conveying cultural, political and social justice opinions
In stylish kinky hair expressions

From Madam CJ Walker
To Mrs. Michelle Obama
My curls are audacious
My curls are bold
My curls are fully deserving of this—
Their very own ode

All rights reserved 
[first published in 2022, bringing it back for BHM ‘23]

Afterword: Hair was a sacred cultural and spiritual symbol in ancient African societies. Slave traders, as a first step in a process of systemic culture and identity erasure, would shave the heads of all African people they captured. Hair texture and styling played an important role in the survival of enslaved Black people. For instance, in the 1960s, the afro became a symbol of self-empowerment and activism. Black hair is black resistance.

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In creative solidarity, Dee

49 thoughts on “Ode to Da Curls In My Hair ©Dawn Minott |for Black History Month, with audio

    1. Oh my goodness —you’re from yawd?! No wonda!!! Kindred spirits!! LOVE de piece!! Left a richer comment on your site (I’ll be exploring more of it, see you’ve been here since 2018!!!!). One love, Dee

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Viv H

        I love this poem….. makes me want to start writing again. I can identify with the wind touching my hair and it turns into a different kind a kinky curl. Lol
        I do live my natural though, only wish I had started ‘preciating’ it from way back when.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. harripat

      Hi Dawn. Love the “ode to da curls in my hair.” I can identify it. As black people we have abused our hair. I went full circle and finally came home to sister locks. I apologize to my curls for all the trauma I put them through.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hey Harri. Thanks for stopping by. The use of trauma in your response is loaded. Black hair has been politicized and yes we carry/carried a lot of trauma from it. From “good” and “bad” hair to the Black power movement. Apologies to our curls definitely needed 😊


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