Secrets - A Poem by Elizabeth S. Peprah

A Black woman places both her hands on her face and looks seriously at the camera
Isn’t it funny how so many women that we walk past on the street, coffee shops, department store lineups, buses, grocery stores, and restaurants hold deep secrets?

Secrets of past (or current) abuse

Secrets of insecurities

Secrets of life tragedies

Countless secrets that we will never know

The thing about secrets is that they weigh us down with unnecessary burdens. So as an ode to a weight lifted, here is one of mine:

I’d be lying

That I didn't cry

And look into the sunny sky

As the days had gone by

And ask God “WHY”?!

He made me a Black girl

I’ll explain.

The pain

Of the relaxer falling down the drain

Just so that I could feign

A sense of belonging.

I never knew that I had curls

As a little girl.

My mom plaited

And braided

My long hair for many years

And when the tears of

Difference in a white space

With a Black face

Consumed me

I asked for the creamy crack to liberate me

Ok, that’s really a tale

The last part

I never asked my mother

She relaxed her ‘fro

And she didn't know

The inner turmoil of my soul

So she drove me to the salon

And my hair grew

So long that people were convinced it was a weave

“Girl please!”

But the danger was that I was trying to mimic

What I was not

It was the real life “Imitation of (white) Life”

Like Sarah Jane

The pain

Of difference in being Black

Was personified through my hair

And boy did they stare

I was the “white washed” Black woman

The ‘Oreo’

And so

It took years

Until I grabbed the shears

Of the scissors

And I cut it.

“Oh no!”

With every cut

I reclaimed my liberty

With every strand that left my hands into the sink

I met my real kinks

The Freedom

Whether it is kinky hair today

Or a 48-inch long wig tomorrow

Braided cornrows

Who knows?

I am a Black woman

I am a royal diadem

Every inch of my kinks are glorious

The uniqueness

Of Blackness

Must be celebrated

Teach our young women to love their hair

Teach our older women to really care

About raising a generation with self-love

For those of you who are not ready to believe my words yet

Don’t worry

We will still be here for you


When you one day realize the


And Liberty

That rests in coming to love your hair

In learning to love my kinks

It made me think

That some secrets are better let out

In loving myself, I now have the power to shout!


About the Blogger: Elizabeth S. Peprah

A picture of Elizabeth Perpah smiling at the camera

This article was written by one of our Blog Contributors, Elizabeth Peprah. She is a scholar-activist and a volunteer Gender-Based Violence Specialist with the Candian Center for Women’s Empowerment (CCFWE). She is a PhD student at Walden University studying Human and Social Services with a concentration in Community Intervention and Leadership. She blogs at

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