Poetry

Covered Crowns

By Anonymous

1786 in Louisiana

Were the Tignon* Laws

They were used like a bandana

To cover black women’s hair because


Creole women were required to cover all their hair

They used to experiment and adorn it

They made the white men stare

White women didn’t like it one bit

It came off as competitive

So they had to use Tignon

To black women, who looked, was not relative

But their creativity went above and beyond

They began to adorn the fabric

With feathers and jewels

Rule makers though their change would be drastic

But black women found a way around the rules

They tried to police the appearance of women

Tried to take away their identity

But they have such a creative vision

That they counteracted breathlessly

Today, black women’s hair are still policed

Most places shut against braids, dreads

Even natural textures are questioned to say the least

So black women, at interviews, lightly tread

Many hide their natural texture

They spend hours getting it straightened out

And can feel the rued gesture

When whites stare if a “nappy” strand stands out

In 2019 there was law passed

To stop hair discrimination

Should have been put on blast

White supremacy intimidation

Black people’s hair

Is their cultural identity

Worn like a crown

In all its nappy synchrony

*pronounced: tiyon

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