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It’s hard to find hope in a tragedy. And Freddie Gray’s death and the subsequent unrest are incredible tragedies. But out of that tough narrative, something else interesting has emerged.

Black women (and their fierce hair) are running things.

Never before with any news story in recent memory have I seen so many black women in positions of power: The mayor, the state’s attorney, the major general running the National Guard in Baltimore—all are black women.


This didn’t go unnoticed by cable news or on social media. And of course, since we’re talking about social media and black women, people were also talking about their hair.


Marilyn Mosby is gonna show little girls you can stand up for justice, be a badass and have your hair laid. #MarilynMosby #Baltimore

— Torri Yates-Orr (@awarriorfirst) May 1, 2015

Your hair is the last thing you want to think about when you’re fighting for justice, trying to keep a city from burning to the ground or dipping out on an interview with Don Lemon. And yet because these are women, it’s what people talked about. For better or worse. When black women are great, people seem to also want their hair to be great. And the women of Baltimore delivered, showing that there was a look for power, a look for work and a look for being in control.


Because while it’s probably too late for you to go back to college, get a law degree and become Marilyn Mosby, you can probably take a photo of her to your salon and get her signature look.

Let’s take a closer look at these women (and their hair), with a completely meaningless list of them ranked according to how their hair was laid.

5. My hair is laid like Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: cute but unclear.


I had high hopes for Rawlings-Blake and her hairdo, both of which are very ambitious. But then she called the youths “thugs” and seemed powerless to do anything about how events after Gray’s death were unfolding: the subsequent investigations, the protests, the riots and the city being set on fire. Said the Rev. Jamal Bryant about her when I interviewed him for The Root earlier this week:

“To call these children thugs when her team obviously forgot a year from now, when there’s an election, these thugs will be in voting booths,” Bryant said. “She forgot she’s not a politician—she’s a black politician. You can’t plead the center. You can’t pander to who’s writing the contribution checks at the expense of your base. She’s going to have to do a goodwill tour through the hood to clean that up.”


4. My hair is laid like Maj. Gen. Linda Singh: about that life.

I actually know Singh—who currently runs the National Guard deployed in Baltimore—in real life, and she is an amazing person with an amazing story. No one should be talking about her hair, ever—only about how great and inspirational she is. But since this is a superficial post about hair … I could never get a slick-back ponytail going, ever. My ponytails always, always, always look like sloppy garbage, but I’m not willing to enlist in the military, like Linda did, to learn how to fix one properly.


3. My hair is laid like Marilyn Mosby’s press person, Rochelle Ritchie: curly but always concise.

Yet another Afro I wish I had but am unable to grow myself. But if you watched the beginning of the press conference, you know that Ritchie and her hair were both saying all the right things.


2. My hair is laid like whoever this is on the far right.

Seriously. That’s how I wear my hair 90 percent of the time, but without the bang.


1. My hair is laid like Marilyn Mosby: kissed by the flatirons of the gods.

Did you notice she didn’t come here to mess around? Neither did her blow-out. Everything about Mosby sounds cool. She’s the youngest chief city prosecutor in the nation. She went to Tuskegee University. Her husband is on the Baltimore City Council. She has two daughters. She made that face several times throughout the press conference. She looks friendly, but she also looks as if she might destroy you with one flex of an eyebrow. As this delightful fool on Twitter said, Shonda Rhimes can’t type up this pilot fast enough. Learn more about Mosby here.


Editor’s note: A version of this column appeared in Belton’s blog at