On Friday, nearly all Americans felt the gravity of the death of Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights icon who organized the 1963 March on Washington and fought for equal voting rights until he took his last breath July 17. One person who has been particularly and personally touched by the loss of Rep. Lewis is writer and professor Melissa Harris-Perry who, inspired by the bravery of the activist, decided to do something brave herself: shave her hair off.
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Posting a photo of her new low cut on Instagram, the political commentator wrote, “When my students seek advice I usually urge them to make the choice that most scares them— take the unknown road. I haven’t been following that advice. Once fearless, I’ve spent so much of the past four years terrified. Failure, loss, assault, depression have made me timid. Since we lost @repjohnlewis yesterday I’ve watched and rewatched his interviews. “I was not afraid,” he says “I was ready to die for what I believe.” Rep Lewis makes me want to be courageous again. So I started with something small but scary for me. I got rid of my hair. Then I sat down and I wrote words. And then I admitted to those I love what I hope to build even though I have no idea how I’ll do it. One step at a time, I’m going back to brave.”
For years, twists and microbraids had become Perry’s signature hairstyle, a choice born out of necessity after health issues caused her hair to become dry and brittle. Being on television and “in the unfortunate position of not being able to just go through the awkward phases” of transitioning, as Perry told Curly Nikki, the wife and mother turned to protective styles as she grew out her natural hair.
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During quarantine, the 46-year-old had begun styling her own hair, posting a photo on May 25 showing off a set of “self-made twists.” She wrote in the caption: “Because I genuinely cannot fathom when it will seem responsible to sit for 8 hours of braiding I figured I might as well embrace the new normal. Good or bad— at least my self made twists and bad brows risk no lives.”
Now nearly two months later, Perry has another new normal and we have to say brave looks good on her.
Perry isn’t the only celeb to do the big chop during the pandemic. Just two weeks ago, Tiffany Haddish shaved her hair off on Instagram Live, telling fans proudly, “I shoulda been did this.”
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Inspired By Rep. John Lewis’ Bravery, Melissa Harris-Perry Shaved Her Hair Off was originally published on hellobeautiful.com