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Read Taiye Selasi's "Poetic Tribute to Natural Hair": Love Your Curls

Ghana Must GoTaiye Selasi, best-selling author of Ghana Must Go, has written a short ebook entitled Love Your Curls: A poetic tribute to curly hair inspired by real women, as part of a Dove campaign.

The book, which is aimed at children, is available as a free download, and is intended to instill self-confidence and empowerment in young black girls with curly hair.

Read Selasi’s author’s note:

When my sister and I were younger, we used to play this game. We’d place our towels over our heads and tuck the cloth behind our ears. It was a gesture that we’d seen our straight-haired friends make every day. For us, the gesture embodied ease, beauty, self-assurance. Trouble was, our hair wasn’t “tuckable.” Our short, soft, springy Afros—while lovely to the touch—were too tightly coiled to be tucked behind the ear. No sooner had a chunk of hair been tucked in place than it bounced back. And so we turned to towels.

One night, with my towel-wig on, I went to brush my teeth. I was leaning over the sink when plop! My “hair” fell off. As I straightened up and looked in the mirror, I found myself staring back: me, as I was, no terrycloth-hair hanging down my back but a small buoyant Afro framing my face. Suddenly it dawned on me. I would never have straight hair. The ear-tuck would never be my trademark. But my pillow-soft coils—strong, beautiful, delicate—could be. Looking at myself in the mirror that night, I fell in love with my hair.

This book is dedicated to all the curly-haired girls, big and small, who have fallen in love with theirs. For the little girls whose buoyant, boisterous hair reflects their personalities; for the mothers who see in their daughters’ ringlets free and fearless spirits; for the women who have learned to love—lo, to flaunt!—their natural hair, whose curls tell the world who they are: this is for you. May you find in these painted pages a reflection of your beauty, a celebration of your uniqueness and an expression of your grace. Here’s to you and your gorgeous curls!

Curly and proud,
Taiye Selasi

Selasi chatted to The Cut about why she participated in the project, as well as about her views on about skin lightening, her poetry, and the objectification of natural hair:

Have you always worn your hair naturally?
I had straight hair when I was young and I never want it again. But you know what? It doesn’t suit me. I want to be really clear. I don’t say that as sort of a pat on the back. My sister wears her hair straight. She looks amazing with it. It’s her choice. What I love is that she made that choice being fully empowered. She doesn’t feel like she has to have straight hair, she’s just enjoying this haircut right now. And I don’t look at her and think, You’re self-hating. But me, I just like it better like this. I have a big face. I have a big mouth. I have big cheeks. I have big eyes. I have big shoulders. I should have big hair.

Book details