by: Jamila T. Davis
Tension filled the crowded prison salon as the girls assembled to fight. Re-Re, a tall brown skinned girl from Washington D.C. had her friends on deck and they were ready to get it in! Re-Re had her hand pulled back to hit my friend Dawn, who was her rival. Before she could land her punch, I jumped in between both of the emotionally charged women.
"Hold up!" I shouted at the top of my voice taking everyone off of their guard. My hands were stretch wide open pushing the girls apart. "This argument is stupid! You are both pretty, gifted black women. Why are you fighting over such stupidness." The unusual passion in my voice must have caught their attention. The packed room of girls listened attentively, staring at me as I talked.
"The government has suppressed us enough. We are all hurting and missing our loved ones. When does the madness stop? This is just what they expect us to do. They want us to kill each other. We can't give them that! I just won't allow it! Not here and not now!" I spoke emphatically.
Inside I was frightened to death, but I let my spirit guide me. The words I spoke rose up from the bottom of my soul, releasing the energy that was trapped inside of me. I was in this strange place not knowing what to expect, but my instinct saved me. Quickly recognizing the power of my speech, the women in the shop began to disperse and the heated conversation dispelled. I was relieved!
Over the next several months my hair dresser Dawn took care of me. She introduced me to all of her friends and gave me a lot of items that made my prison stay more comfortable. Having her do my hair gave me great satisfaction. Even though I was locked up, having my hair done the same way I wore it in the streets made me still feel human inside.
Dawn helped to prepare me for the long stretch I had up ahead. She taught me the ropes and I listened. When you are in a dark, strange place a familiar face makes such a difference. Around Dawn, I felt comfortable enough to let my guard down and share my feelings. I enjoyed the many long walks we took together and the incredible advice she gave me.
Unfortunately my union with Dawn did not last too long. I was shipped to Santa Ana, California to handle another charge and she was deported back to Guyana. I never did get a chance to say goodbye, so please allow me this moment.
Dawn, wherever you are in the free world, I just want to thank you for your love and support during some of my most difficult times. You will forever be the dopest hair dresser I have had, both in and out of prison. May you continue to use your gifts to bless the lives of others, and may your life forever be filled with joy and happiness. From the bottom of my heart you are loved and greatly missed!