In a year filled with seemingly more turbulent moments than moments of joy, it’s hard to remember that living one’s truth out loud is a right—especially since we can barely live outside these days.
But back in January, Massachusetts Democratic Representative Ayanna Pressley did exactly that when she revealed to the world that she had been diagnosed with alopecia—and presented for the first time with a beautiful bald head.
It was an unexpected and incredible turning point in beauty. Her revelation led other Black women to speak up about their own struggles with hair loss. It gave Black women the courage to show the world what they look like without wigs and other enhancements.
Today, as we adjust to what feels like a permanent new reality, and as we continue to discuss Black hair during National Hair Loss Awareness Month, it’s refreshing to see Pressley continuing to be unapologetically her—with or without hair.
“Because of my mom, I know who I am and whose I am, and was not raised to ask permission to lead,” the congresswoman wrote in a recent Instagram post.
She’s not big on lots of selfies (she’s big on fighting for social justice, passing bills that create real reform and getting people to vote), but whenever she posts one it simply reminds us that as Black women we no longer have to bend to the will of the rest of the world when it comes to our beauty. We have the right to show up as ourselves, just like Pressley, and garner respect and feel like enough.