Artist Laetitia Ky can transform natural hair in ways you wouldn't believe. The 21-year-old Côte d'Ivoire native has created everything from legible messages to dancing women on her head, using nothing but hair. Every hairstyle in her Instagram portfolio is sprinkled with a generous helping of black girl magic, but a recent post using her hair art to support the #MeToo movement is arguably one of her greatest creations to date.
A campaign against sexual assault founded a decade ago, the #MeToo movement's resurgence has supporters using its hashtag like never before. Popularized by Tarana Burke to amplify the voices of sexual assault survivors, #MeToo encourages women to share their experiences with sexual violence. After the Havey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal rattled in Hollywood, survivors have become empowered to proclaim "me too" on social media to start a discussion about gendered violence. And as more women have come forward to speak on harassment and abuse, Ky added her two cents in the most unique way.
Using her skills as a natural hair wizard, Ky created a #MeToo post accompanied by a powerful 3D hair sculpture. With her strands woven into a man lifting up a woman's skirt, she encouraged her followers to speak up and recognize that absolutely nothing can justify an assault.
"Thousands of women are raped every day in the world, but very few are able to talk about it, to complain or fight," Ky began her post. "Why? Because our 'beautiful' society has the tendency to blame the victim almost every time."
Shedding light on some of the excuses abusers use to justify their actions, the hair artist called out every disgusting victim-blaming method in the book. "Oh, but you should not have gone out so late." "Why are you complaining if you agreed to have dinner with him?" and "Don't tell me you were not trying to seduce him with all that makeup," were just some of the lines used by aggressors that Ky pointed out in her post.
As a self-proclaimed feminist, Ky strongly advocates against gendered violence and became even more inspired to join the Me Too movement when a friend confided in her about a narrow escape from assault.
"From then on, I knew that it was an obligation for me to join this movement. I had to speak for me, for her, and for every women in the world," Ky tells Bustle. "Using my hair to talk about this issue made sense. I was already using hair as a form of expression. It was my art, and I know that using art to talk about something can touch more people."
Followers and supporters took to Ky's post to express gratitude and shared their connection with her words. It's obvious that her hair magic is giving others major doses of #MeToo encouragement. She concluded the post explaining that her DMs were open for anyone who wished to speak on the matter.
"A lot of women told me their experiences and it was really hard for me to hear all these horrible stories," Ky reveals. "But it was a good thing because it helped those women feel a little better. Of course, there were some negative reactions, too, from some men who always think that we exaggerate when we talk about it, but I ignore them."
When it comes to such powerful art on a sensitive subject, there will always be critics, so Ky just lets her hair art do all of the talking.
A previous post of her locks formed into a set of middle fingers featured the caption, "me when a guy says something #misonginistic". The #blackgirlmagic, #angryblackwoman, and #fckyou hashtags that accompanied the post were all too perfect.
"I want to encourage people through this hair art to be themselves and live their truth," Ky tells Bustle. "They don't have to be afraid of people who will hate them or misunderstand them. Being yourself is the only way to achieve big things in life and it's the first step to happiness. So, everyone should learn to express themselves freely."
The hair guru, who typically spends anywhere from 30 minutes to over two hours to complete hair art like the Me Too piece, is inspiring her followers with every twist and turn of her locks. This is truly black girl magic at its finest.