‘No Perm for Me’

FroRealNoLyeOn Saturday, June 4, 2016, Sister Spokesman had their Fourth Annual Loving Your Hair event, where the theme was “Generations of Curls.” The goal is to create and leverage platforms to educate African American women on natural hair care, providing tools and resources as she navigates through her natural hair journey. Collectively, sistahs unite to begin the dialogue to change or redirect the negative narrative that is often linked to Black beauty and Black hair.

Closing out the program of this great Loving Your Hair event was an awesome spoken word artist by the name of Simpson Bradley who performed a piece he wrote called “Please, No Perm for Me.” This poet was asked one week prior to the event to reflect on words he would share with his daughter (if he had a daughter) that would encourage her to love and embrace her hair along with the liberation that process may evoke.

His positive message resonated with many attendees who wanted to see the words so they could continue to reflect on trying to figure this natural hair thing out!! He captured a dynamic perspective that makes you go uhm..mmm!! I present Mr. Bradley’s poem to you: (see below)

Simpson Bradley
Simpson Bradley (Courtesy of Simpson Bradley)

Always encouraging to receive a male perspective! However, it still amazes me how African American hair can cause so much controversy and division in our communities and society as a whole. My hope is we stop putting so much emphasis on what other people think about our hair and learn to “unapologetically celebrate” the uniqueness in every kink, coil and nap we own.

Ladies, remember, “No curl is greater than the other”! Curl-nation, We Got This! Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!

Please, “No perm for Me”
Cuz like me my hair came from overseas
The land of Kings and Queens
Where the Nile river streams
What you call nappy I call happy
What you call course I call force
When we first came to this foreign land,
Our hair along with our hands
Was a representation of our kingdom we came from.
And for some strange reason
Our fight just like the seasons have changed and now we want to relax some
Relax at home in our chairs
Relax our struggle relax our hairs
All the while knowing that rest is the first bite of the Apple
So I tell these young kings
These young queens when I sing
Show your Angie show Doctor J show your Afro
We are dark for miss parks who rode the back of the bus
Show your locks by thee flocks no one can do it like us
And if ya daughter has questions of why her hair is so nappy
Show her picture of Nefertiti And say you pretty to daddy.
Please “no perm for me”
Cuz like me my hair came from overseas
The land of kings and queens
Where the Nile river streams
I am amazed
That I can straighten my hair like yours but you can’t wear braids and this is no shade this is just/ praise of those who were slaves for 4 billion days and still make a way
Harriet Tubman on the twenty, that’s funny
Where was the money when she was running?
I digress
But none the less your hair is what she reflects
That desire to be free things that press
And to my sistas who’s hair is short
It may not blow in the wind like our kids through court
But you are beautiful
No need for extensions
The attempt to try to extend the limitless beauty God already bestowed upon you falls short/ without mention. Your short hair only says how much bullshit you will guide
So boys who fall short of manhood run and hide
So the next time you think you want your hair to look like Bey
Remember you come from queens and say “No Perm for Me.


Natural hair coach and enthusiast Kelley Eubanks of Fro Real No Lye welcomes reader responses to keubanks85@comcast.net.