Just like pictures, a hairstyle can be worth a thousand words. For Laetitia Ky, this couldn’t be more true. The Ivory Coast native uses her locks to tell stories, shaping her hair into images on top of her head, proving that art comes in all forms.
Her latest beauty piece of work was created to join the #MeToo movement. Ky, who is also a budding fashion designer, posted a photo recently to Instagram of herself with a hair sculpture depicting two people. One is wearing a dress, and the other is lifting up that person’s dress (not made of hair). The dress-wearer’s arms are flailing. Her caption, which starts with #metoo, makes it clear that she is depicting sexual assault with her hair art.
“Thousands of women are raped every day in the world, but very few are able to talk about it, to complain or fight,” the Kybraids creator wrote. “Why? Because our ‘beautiful’ society has the tendency to blame the victim almost every time … Ladies … NOTHING JUSTIFIES RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT OR HARASSMENT. Neither your clothing, your make-up, your relationship with the abuser (because even your husband doesnt have the right to force you to have sex if you dont want to, the concept of marital rape exists),” she declared. “Don’t remain silent, dont let anyone tell you that you have some responsibility in this despicable act !!!! Speak out because you dont have to carry this burden alone, talk to help other women who are afraid, talk to start a revolution, talk to change things.”
She continued: “You are not alone. Dont be discouraged even if your direct surrounding makes you feel guilty … the weight can be difficult to sustain and the battle can be hard but it is worth it !!!!!! It’s never too late to speak out.” She encouraged followers to “snitch” on their “pigs” and to DM her if they needed someone to talk to.
Ky, who considers herself a feminist, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that seeing the #metoo and #balancetonporc (the hashtag for Francophone women) movements grow on the internet “disgusted” her, which is one of the main reasons she decided to make the hair statement. “I became aware of how huge of a phenomenon sexual assault is, but it was also pleasing, because I could see women revolting and deciding to talk in order to change things,” she explains.
While she admits that she’s never been a victim herself, she notes that “sexual harassment is almost part of my everyday … I knew sooner or later I’d shared a few words on this subject.”
However, her participation was “accelerated” when a friend told her how she narrowly escaped being raped just a few years ago. “It revolted me. I was not the only woman around me in this situation. Which meant it was clear that something was wrong. I had to join all these brave women who began what I consider an incredibly noble fight,” she says.
This resulted in her moving artwork, which she used thread, yarn, fabric, iron, and pins to create. Most importantly, she uses extra hair. “I add extensions to imitate dreadlocks, because my hair creations often require large amounts of hair and mine are a little shorter.”
Her designs came from a love of art and African women, at first, but now, she uses them to express messages she cares about.
On Oct. 20, she created a gun with her locks. “Against gun and violence,” she captioned the post. “I am convinced that artists can change the world !”
She explains, “I love that black women are proud of their aesthetic heritage, their hair, that they accept and express themselves freely, and view their differences as assets. I also love that artists (especially in the Ivory Coast) stopped being afraid to speak out, showing that being different might attract negative reviews but also a lot of love and positivity.”
Of course, everyone needs a little light in their lives, so some of her creations are goofy as well. Like her thought bubbles, animals, and accessories.
She also creates gorgeous and innovative looks for other women.
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