Isata Yansaneh

Profile of a woman with long dreadlocks and beads looking at camera

I didn’t join the natural hair movement until 2012, when I became a fad. For years, I’ve longed to remove my relaxer and reconnect with my natural hair, but after being discouraged in college for not having a “good hair” texture by my hairdresser, and doubting that my face could handle a TWA (teenie weenie afro), I suppressed the desire.

However, in October of 2012, after the post-weave process—a bed of half-naps and half-relaxed split ends—I finally agreed to have everything cut off. She chopped it all off. I took a selfie for my boyfriend, who was furious.

It all began when I was in my mid-twenties, and my partner had a discussion with me about how much of a romantic partner should be involved in the choice to change one’s hairstyle.

“I was angry and perplexed, and what’s more, it hurt my self-esteem. It was difficult enough just dealing with the fact that I, a 25-year-old woman who could always curl her hair with a quick bend of a curling iron, had to learn what her strands looked like as they emerged from her head. Adding in the unsupportive boyfriend didn’t help matters.”— Isata Yansaneh