Hair Story: They absolutely represent who I am

I entered the Miss Jamaica World pageant and in order to go further as a selected semi-finalist, I was told to remove my braids. They were considered (*) as an unfair advantage and a misrepresentation of who I am.
25 years later, I am known and recognised by my braids, and rarely have they been an advantage to anything. In fact they may have been a hindrance to my work in certain performing arts spaces. But one thing is certain - they absolutely represent who I am. Or - Who I’ve been for my adult life…. until now.

BM,?, Female, Sierra Leone/Jamaica/USA
#Braids #Identity

(*)= not sure of the transcription for this word