Kim Coles and Amanda Seales Talk Black Hair and ‘The Other N-Word’

“[My mom and I] spent so many years, and so much time and so much energy putting [my hair] away before it hurt somebody,” says Kim Coles. 

Kim Coles and Amanda Seales are the latest women featured in Michaela Angela Davis’s Hair Tales web series. Featured back-to-back, Coles and Seales share how they used to conceal their curls before embracing their natural tresses on Refinery 29.

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“[My mom and I] spent so many years, and so much time and so much energy putting [my hair] away before it hurt somebody,” Coles explains. Since 1990, Coles had worn her hair in either extensions or braids before she decided she wanted to reveal what her hair really looked like. “In [my mother’s] culture, in her growing up, you didn’t do that you put it away. She just has a problem with word ‘nappy’ – it’s the other n-word.”

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Coles turned to the aid of YouTube vloggers for tutorials and how-tos on the maintenance of the hair she’d kept hidden for so many years. "I just came to fall in love with these girls, and came to fall in love with their journey, and came to fall in love with how much they loved themselves," she says. The magic of black girl hair is in its texture as Coles states in the beginning of her segment, “It’s all so different and so beautiful and so fluffy. It’s so lovely to my hands, it’s lovely to my eyes.”

Amanda Seales also shares a similar testimony about having to hide her natural curls. She felt as if she was being told “the kind of curls you have ain’t the right kind of curls.” It was when “the Denzel of [her] school” complemented Seales that she began wearing her hair as is.

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“My hair changes with my emotions… and my purpose for the day. We have to be gymnasts in this society... our hair goes along with us in that journey. When my hair is picked out, my whole aura is picked out like, ‘see this, see me,’” says Seales.

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