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Why This #BlackLivesMatter Cofounder Shaved Her Head

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For Patrisse Cullors, activist and cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement, the versatility of black girl hair is part of its magic. "It can do literally everything," she says. "Our hair is like shape-shifters — we have the most resilient hair, ever."

Cullors' is the most recent profile to appear in the new series Hair Tales, created by writer and cultural critic Michaela Angela Davis. The videos feature celebrities and influencers sharing their unique but often intertwined hair stories. And though we're only three videos in, Cullors' might just be our favorite account so far.

Growing up, Cullors and her family didn't have much money. But, regardless of their financial situation, she recalls her mom saving up just so she and her siblings could get their hair done every two weeks. Her mother would even keep them home from school until she could afford to get their hair pressed. "To be poor and black — and visibly poor and black — is taboo," Cullors states in the above video. "If her black girls didn't have that ideal beauty standard, then it would reflect badly on her, and I think she felt guilty — she felt bad."

Over time, Cullors could no longer justify investing so much time and worry over hairstyles. "I just remember thinking, There has to be more than my hair," she says. Inspired by authors such as bell hooks and Audre Lorde, and influenced by more diverse images of black women, she went to the barbershop and shaved her head.

Though she describes the experience as scary, exciting, and everything in between, what she mostly felt was relief. "It was the first time in my life that I didn't feel like my hair was a thing that I was leading with," she says. "It changed me."

Watch Cullors' hair story above and share your own with us in the comments section.
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