In January, Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley publicly revealed to her supporters and the world that she — like seven million other people — has alopecia. In the emotional video posted to The Root, Rep. Pressley gave a raw account of her experience, from proudly wearing her signature Senegalese twists to ultimately losing all of her hair in office.
“Every night I was employing all the tools I’ve learned throughout my life as a Black woman because I thought I could stop this,” she says. But in the end, Rep. Pressley boldly revealed her bald head, calling it an act of “self-agency and power.” Since then, the congresswoman has continued to be vocal about living with the condition and shared an empowering message this week in honour of Alopecia Awareness Month.
“Let me drop an alopecia selfie flex,” Rep. Pressley captioned her latest photo on Twitter. “Y’all stay mad on my timeline. I get it. Who needs hair with these cheekbones?” Rep. Pressley went on to share that she’s been rudely asked which bathroom she uses, to which she had the perfect reply: “Obviously, the one where royalty enters. S/O to my Alopecia Squad, 7million strong.”
Let me drop an alopecia selfie flex. Ya’ll stay mad on my timeline. I get it. Who needs hair with these cheekbones? Folks want to know which bathroom I use. Obviously, the one where royalty enters. S/O to my Alopecia Squad, 7million strong. #alopeciaawarenessmonth pic.twitter.com/2jrvAJsRXd
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) September 2, 2020
The photo has since amassed nearly 160,000 likes on Twitter and thousands of replies from supporters, including fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Can we talk about this collar jewelry!! The lip color! Are you glowing up without me?! Whew, I’m taking notes,” AOC wrote. Others used the tweet to spark discussions about their respective alopecia or hair loss. “I never thought about the lack of people in the public eye representing alopecia and how it may have a positive impact on kids with alopecia,” one supporter wrote. “The permanent loss of my beautiful thick black hair has changed my outlook on what defines me. I AM BEAUTIFUL and I AM ALIVE… I AM NOT MY HAIR!,” wrote another.
I have had breast cancer 3 times, each time I lost my hair from the chemo treatments. The last treatment cycle lasted a year. The permanent loss of my beautiful thick black hair has changed my outlook on what defines me. I AM BEAUTIFUL and I AM ALIVE… I AM NOT MY HAIR! pic.twitter.com/qSsA23gzL0
— Kellee Brown (@MsKelleeBrown) September 3, 2020
At first I thought it was an odd tweet for a congresswoman but I never thought about the lack of people in the public eye representing alopecia and how it may have a positive impact on kids with alopecia. After seeing your tweet Im glad she did, tell your niece to stay awesome!
— T&J (@313Romans) September 3, 2020
Folks stay with the noise about hair. I just give ’em a bit of this. ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/qO6jNtr0dU
— Dee (@deeattle) September 3, 2020
You own it! Besides, you are absolutely correct about the cheekbones. Why hide them! pic.twitter.com/nUR1mVcnsC
— TraceNee,RMA♊️🕊🛡🌊💙🆘 (@tracenee75) September 3, 2020
Rep. Pressley’s selfie is further proof that beauty and hair, which have long been labeled vain or frivolous, have a worthy place in politics. From campaigning against natural hair discrimination to advocating for racial equity and raising awareness about medical conditions, like alopecia, we love that Rep. Pressley is using her platform to encourage others to continue fighting to make the world a more inclusive, accepting place.
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