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   I love African hair, especially seeing long, thick coily hair because it is testament that Black hair, in it’s natural and curliest state, does indeed grow. And what a magnificent sight to behold.

   I have been consciously natural for about 5-6 years but after I cut my locs off last winter, I considered myself a true natural. I haven’t used dye, relaxers or chemicals in my hair since then. I use Shea butter on my roots with a bristle brush to soften the new growth (it works beautifully) and on my ends I use coconut oil or, in the winter, a bit of Castor oil. I wash my hair with a mud paste made from Triphala powder and Amla powder left to sit in for 6 hours then rinse it off with a Shea Moisture conditioner.

   But, as much as I have professed my love for natural hair and my beautiful sisters and brothers around the world who proudly present their crowns of glory, I have never gone outside with my hair in a protective style, or more specifically, twists. I have always untwisted them in the morning hastily before anyone came over. But why? Plump twists are a beautiful way to wear natural hair, yes, even outside the house. Maybe, because I live in a predominantly White rural town, I fear being ostracized or stared at. I usually wear my hair in a high bun or ponytail, very Europeanized hairstyles for my non-European hair!

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   But when I realized I was afraid to go outside without my hair in a Europeanized style, I decided I must do just that. Besides, it is the dead of winter and-30 outside. My hair needs to be tucked safely in twists or I risk losing precious hair growth. So, tomorrow, in a room full of White women and men, I will display my magnificent crown in a style befitting the  queens and my sisters of Africa. Our hair is beautiful and regal, and with the right care, really does grow to new heights. My hair is an important part of my identity and a source of happiness and pride. I always see White women flicking their hair back absent-mindedly, but I have no reason to readjust my crown. I am on a journey to take back the self-love and dignity stolen from me and my people. We must know our worth, and we must get our education. And we must love our crowns.

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