International Women’s Day Poem: ‘Alive’, by Antonia Jade King

Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we’re sharing this beautiful poem about Black women’s hair, by writer and poet, Antonia Jade King.

You call it unprofessional because of course professionalism is straight and white
I am too much for you and I accept that
I’ve never followed patterns or rules
And my hair hasn’t either
Neither of us want to be tamed
You call my hair wild
I call it alive
When you try and push us to the ground we will both rise to the sky
Apparently my hair is good enough to touch even when I don’t want you to
But it is also the reason why I should not get a job
My hair is meticulously looked after glory
It is coconut oil covered beauty
It is all the hours I have spent lovingly detangling
It is resistant to your words because I’ve put too much love into these curls
Your hate cannot break through the Shea Butter barrier I’ve wrapped each of these curls in
My hair bounces when I walk like it refuses to stop dancing
You will not stop us dancing.
I have spent years massaging pride into this scalp
I have taught each curl on this head its history and you cannot undo the education by this point
There is more power in one strand of hair on this head than in your entire narrow minded existence
If my hair is too big I suggest you make room.