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Belinda Otas



Belinda Otas

Otas is a London-based journalist, writer and blogger, and theatre fan. She is working on her first stage play.


 Na My Hair!



If I wan twist am, na my hair
If I wan lock am, na my hair
If I wan dread am, na my hair
If I wan put am for police cap, na my hair
If I wan thread am,
I say na my hair

And if I wan do am banana cane roll,
na my hair
If I wan fry am, na my hair
If I wan geritate am, na my hair
If I decide say na weave I wan wear,
Na my hair,
I pay for am
If I wan afrolise am, na my hair
(na afro I wan do)

And if I change my mind, put am gele
– abi na satellite dish –
Na my hair

And if na wrap I wan wrap am
Like my African sisters dey wrap their hair,
Na my hair
Na for my head im dey.
Abi your own loss?


They say I am doing damage to myself
I wonder if they knew that I had choices
I wonder if they knew that
I do not appreciate becoming the chips
With which they dissect my sisters
Under the banner of ideological
Or sociological reasoning
And culture

I wonder if they realise that before they started,
I had been set free to make choices
And was no longer under any form of
Ideological subjugation
And I don’t fit into any of the boxes
They would like to put me in.

I wonder if they realise that I am a grown woman
With a reasoning capacity
I know some of my sisters have
Gone to extreme lengths
To change who they are for acceptance
But I would like them to know that
All I have is mine
And nothing is synthetic
Which need not be

I don’t want the white girl flow
Than the white girl desires to have an afro
I don’t want to be subject of television shows
Which add nothing but patronise our imagination
We are not so dumb that we cannot see
Or tell that your ratings matter more
I hear you when you say I should be careful
But I also want you to remember
I have a right to decisions about my appearance
And what I look like without you dissecting me
Right down to the hair on my skin.
I am me and its all mine and I want to be left alone

And – in case you didn’t hear me the last time, I said
Na my hair, na my head im dey, abi your own loss?

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