Why This #BlackLivesMatter Cofounder Shaved Her Head

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.

More from Hair

As you well know, we love drugstore products here at R29. Which isn't to say that prestige products are overrated. But finding a balance between high and ...
In a perfect world, we’d all have plenty of money to splurge on high-end products for each and every hair need. (Ditto skin and makeup.) And in a really ...
Sure, the lob may be the reigning cool-girl cut. And you may have a few friends who are snipping their strands into impossibly chic pixies. But that doesn'...
Looks like the PLL star is trying to soak in all of the fun as a blonde. Her hairstylist, Kristin Ess, posted a picture on Instagram of the actress ...
While the summer may have some beauty benefits (hello, dewy skin!), it can seem like a crapshoot for your hair. From protecting your color to maintaining ...
Just about anytime a video surfaces of a father styling his daughter's hair, our hearts collectively melt. Studies have shown that this type of dedicated...
As the saying goes, everything old is new again. And those shades of pink that took a backseat to the rainbow-hair trend for awhile? They're coming back in...
Our hair loves the idea of summertime. Beachy waves! Golden highlights! Braids on braids on braids! But unfortunately, summertime doesn’t always love our ...
This story was originally published August 21, 2016. As Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, and Solange have demonstrated, a new hair part can instantly ...
This story was originally published August 18, 2016. When Anh Co Tran speaks, we listen. And when he does hair? We don't dare shift our gazes. Last year...
There's something about entering a new year that makes us want to ring up our hairstylist and demand an appointment. After the confetti falls, the ball ...
When I decided to transition my hair from relaxed to natural over the course of a year or so, I naively thought I could continue my usual lazy-girl routine...
Take a scroll through Instagram — celebs are cropping their hair left and right. And, there's plenty of short-hair inspiration to go around, even if the ...
The curly-hair market has been booming lately. New natural hair brands are popping up left and right, while "mainstream" lines are adding more products and...