We muster the courage
Day in and day out to just be
Our authentic selves while
Expressing Our heritage creatively 

Mustering the strength
to allow our beauty to shine through
While overlooking the looks and stares,
Being labeled unprofessional too 

And the comments you make,
And how less serious us you take
But make no mistake
Things are changing with haste 

Days of conforming are over
And so are your standards of beauty
We’ll proudly wear these crowns
Preserving ourselves is our duty 

We’re serving these curls and the braids
The microlinks and finger waves
Lace fronts and faux locs
Marley twists and Bantu knots 

Roller wraps and
wash and gos
Spiral sets,
micro braids and jumbos 

Senegalese twists
and 27 pieces
Sisters locs
and natural pixies 

Messy buns
Or a high natural puff
Afros that we
proudly fluff 

Relaxers and
silk presses
Pompadours and
African head dresses 

Dread locs and
brush cuts
Low buns
shaped like donuts 

Tree braids and
two strand twists
Swoop bangs created
by flicked wrists 

Greased scalps
and braids outs
Flat twists worn
free and stout 

Slicked back ponytails
With deep side parts
Boldly wearing these styles
As pride flows from our hearts 

But We shouldn’t have to muster
the strength to walk in our very essence
When it’s a gift from God
it’s our unique blessing 

How we choose to wear our hair,
should not render us limited
Because What’s on our heads
certainly has no bearing
on what’s in it


This feature was submitted by SM Nelson


From Birmingham, AL, SM Nelson is an educator, researcher, wife, and mommy who loves reading, writing poetry, and the power of educating others through poetry. She believes in poetry that speaks to her, using her authentic voice, and that illuminates her experiences.