My Hair Is My Culture

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

I never forget a bad haircut. In my experience, a bad haircut can only be described as a humiliating, disturbing, and devastating experience that assuredly leaves me with a deep sense of being wronged. While I recognize how melodramatic that is, for me, my hair is a lot more than just dead skin cells and fibrous proteins. It’s my preferred method of self-expression, a cultural connector, an art form, a security blanket, an affirmation of my blackness, and so much more. It’s an integral piece of my racial identity, an identity that’s been particularly difficult yet vital to preserve in the predominantly white community I've grown up in. Unfortunately, I wasn’t always aware of the tremendous power of Black hair and what that means to me, and it’s taken me a lot of bad haircuts to see it.

Throughout my life, I’ve had more disastrous trims than I care to admit; an unfortunate fact that I attribute in part to Vermont's lack of barbers who are able to cut hair like my own. With a Black population struggling to exceed one percent, it’s not surprising that Vermont’s hairstylists tend to be thoroughly confused when it comes to Black hair. However, one of my most recent botched cuts occurred not in Vermont but rather in a foreign country...

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