• Yaddy Valerio


Updated: May 19, 2020

My African ancestors come out in my hair.

They show out and make noise in my hair.

They dance and make music in my hair.

They sing , scream, converse in my hair.

Mami me dice

“Yaddy arreglate ese Pajon”.

“Mami , I love my pajon. No puedo arreglar mi pajón porque mis ancestros no la ayudaron”


“De que tu hablas? Arreglate ese pelo.”

My African ancestors reflect in my hair,

My pajon

My Fro

My curls curls

My light skin reflects my Spaniard ancestors

The colonizers that rape,torture and killed my African ancestors. When my pajon is frizzy and puff , African ancestors are saying something to me.

They hate that they live with the colonizers.

My light skin reminds them of their trauma.

Trauma I’ve had to heal .

Do you know how hard is it to heal generational trauma?

That’s like 4 maletas to take to DR on summer vacation.

We’ve been trained to have pelo lacio. Natural hair is considered not “acceptable” by society’s standards. When I see white girls trying to imitate curly hair I’m like “you can’t imitate what you weren't born with”. I’ve always had curly hair and never felt a certain way about it. I went through my period of going to the salon to straighten and let me tell you, I do not have white girl's hair. My hair requires tratamiento, 1 1/2 hours under the hair dryer and then blower with possibly flat iron if I want to go that far.

Let me also tell you,

I’m not about that life. The salon process is what it is , a process . Parts of my childhood were spent on Saturdays in a Dominican hair salon.

Mami dice que me dañe el pelo, I tell mami I’ve always had curly hair , have you seen my baby pics ? Keeping natural hair is expensive but so is keeping up with the salon. You can’t never win as a woman so I choose natural life over salon life because it is my crown. My ancestors were raped , torture , humiliated and never had a voice . My hair, my crown, stands as a representation of their suffering and how I’m working on removing generational trauma from the time the Spaniards landed on the island of Hispaniola to Present day 21st century.

My curly hair represents the struggle that Dominicans face with erasing their roots. Trujillo implanted that in them that being black was bad... nah boo that mindset is bad. Being black is beautiful. When I do have my curly hair out and is like a separation between the latinas that get their hair straightened out and the curly girls. It's like a separation I can’t explain.

Being aware of how you received your curly hair it takes self awareness. Learning about yourself , your family , your roots, and the foundation. But also, talking about hair is talking about your roots , colorism and discrimination. The hard conversations that we have been avoiding. In my cafecito sessions , we still discussed race and still the ignorant comments rolled in but through mucha paciencia and Education , the hard topics have become more comfortable.

Love your hair

Learn about your hair

Stand tall when your hair is out

When someone tries to diminish your hair,

Remember your ancestors' struggles at the hands of colonizers.

Stand tall and represent them , you and your hair are a rare one


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