Poet Crystal Valentine sits down with StyleLikeU and opens up about her journey to Self Love. Crystal talks about her sexuality, not conforming to society’s norms and how performing her poetry helped her to find a sense of belonging.

“To be in a world filled with people who hate you for being black, for being women, for being queer, for loving yourself, for not caring about their opinions — and to say that ‘I don’t care. I still love myself,’ that is so empowering, and that itself is activism.”

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“My hair is a big part of me. Growing up, I went to a predominantly Hispanic school, so everyone had hair down to their back, just flowing and curly and beautiful. But I'm black, so I would perm my hair. I would have really bad scabs in my hair 'cause the perm would burn it. There's a reason why we do it, and it's because it's ingrained in us that it's not cute, that it's pretty, that it's not acceptable, that it's not professional in the workplace. I was in Texas. We were at a bar, and then the waitress was like, ‘Oh my God, I love your hair. Is it real?’ And she kind of reached for it, and I was like, ‘Don't touch me!’ And she got so offended. I'm just like, ‘I'm not a dog. You do that to someone's dog.’ If you saw a normal person … Honestly, if you saw a white person, you would never be like, ‘Oh my God, I love your hair. Let me just pat you down.’ That would never happen.” To see Crystal Valentine explain why loving yourself in the face of your oppressor is a form of activism in itself, watch the latest episode of The What's Underneath Project at the link in our bio! #IAmWhatsUnderneath #TheSelfAcceptanceRevolution

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*The interview was filmed back in in 2016 and previously hosted exclusively on Fullscreen’s subscription platform. StyleLikeU has decided to re-release eight episodes of The What’s Underneath Project on their YouTube channel, free and accessible to all.*