Strands of Strength

Photographer Yodith Dammlash captures the texture and beauty of black women's tangles. Dammlash enters every "kitchen" with caution, allowing her subjects to speak candidly about their tresses.

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  • Acknowledgment

    Acknowledgment

    My hair, in my opinion, is a slight determining factor of how people perceive me because it is short. But I am happy with the nappy roots God has blessed me with. —Anita Dargan

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  • Day of Reckoning

    Day of Reckoning

    If my hair isn’t the way I want it or if I feel it looks bad, then it messes up my day. 

    —Anita Dargan

  • Things Don't Exist

    Things Don't Exist

    I think I finally started growing my hair out natural in 12th grade or something; I just didn’t care any more. The kids who had teased me [about my curls] had grown up, and I had, too. It has been quite a process learning how to do my own hair and learning to appreciate it. 

    —Aziza Murray

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  • Flat Note

    Flat Note

    I like to get my hair flat-ironed straight once in a blue moon. But I hate it when people are so amazed by my straight hair that they insinuate that it looks so much better that way. I’m like, “Do you know how f***ing long it takes to do this!?!” And you can’t get that s**t wet …. It’s just more trouble than it’s worth. —Aziza Murray

  • Permanent Choices

    Permanent Choices

    It’s an awesomely confusing thing to experience your best and worst moment in the same day, the same moment. The afternoon the perm was cut out of my hair, I lived wholly in that paradox. 

    —Bethlehem Dammlash

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  • Acceptance

    Acceptance

    My feelings about my hair now lie somewhere between betrayal and joy … kind of like when you are told a truth that you weren’t ready to hear. And then I remember that truth, regardless of the “kinks” or texture, is always beautiful. 

    —Bethlehem Dammlash

  • Back to Basics

    Back to Basics

    I went natural because I was tired of the upkeep of having a relaxer. —Charey Jackson

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  • Question and Answer

    Question and Answer

    I think people are confused by my hair. Black people mostly. They always ask me what I did to it to get it so curly. When I tell them I didn’t do anything, it’s just naturally curly, they look extra confused. —Charey Jackson

  • Epiphany

    Epiphany

    unruly-

    uncultivated-

    undomesticated-

    uncivilized other;

    I fear that which cannot be controlled

    —Metasebia Yoseph

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  • I Reminisce

    I Reminisce

    I went through a lot of different looks with my hair. I had hot pink hair, locks, very short hair after I cut off my locks. I thought that these various hairstyles helped to reflect my identity, but I realized that they only boxed me in more. 

    —Metasebia Yoseph

  • Photos by Yodith Dammlash

    Photos by Yodith Dammlash

    Yodith Dammlash, a graduate of Corcoran College of Art & Design, is an Ethiopian-American photographer based in Prince George’s County, Md.

    Have pressing hair questions? Chat with Yodith Dammlash and Delece Smith-Barrow.

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Saaret Yoseph is a writer and Assistant Editor at TheRoot.com. She manages and blogs for "Their Eyes Were Watching ..."

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