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This Black Woman Just Made The Best #MeToo Statement With Her Hair

Her hairstyles do all the talking.

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Laetitia Ky is a 21-year-old art graduate and aspiring fashion designer from Côte d'Ivoire, who also happens to be a magician when it comes to hairstyling.

Instagram: @laetitiaky / Via instagram.com

Ky currently works in marketing, but about a year ago, she began posting on Instagram her real passion: hair art.

Instagram: @laetitiaky / Via instagram.com

"About a year ago, I transitioned to my natural hair, and at the same time I started becoming interested in African art," Ky told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview from Abidjan.

One day, Ky was browsing Instagram accounts for inspiration and came across photos of traditional hairstyles among various African ethnicities. They inspired her to start trying out her own creations. "They were just natural hairstyles, just beautiful braids. They weren’t sculptures as such, but they were truly gorgeous."

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The results? Black hair magic.

Instagram: @laetitiaky / Via instagram.com

Ky says ideas usually come to her in a flash, although she'll spend a while mulling about how to express them. Each 'do takes between 25 minutes to 2 hours to finish, and she uses various materials like wool, wire, and clips to get the final look.

Ky has been following the #MeToo movement's resurgence as more women come forward to talk about their harassment and abuse, and recently decided to weigh in herself.

Instagram: @laetitiaky / Via instagram.com

She posted the sculpture, which shows a man lifting a woman's skirt, alongside a story of a friend's narrow escape from rape — and the excuses enablers commonly use in Côte d'Ivoire.

"Thousands of women are raped every day in the world, but very few are able to talk about it, to complain or fight. Why? Because our 'beautiful' society has the tendency to blame the victim almost every time," Ky wrote in a blistering post that's drawn over 11,000 likes so far.

"'Oh but you should not have gone out so late !!!' 'Ah, but you had a mini skirt,' 'why are you complaining if you agreed to have dinner with him?' 'dont tell me that you were not trying to seduce him with all that makeup.'"

"... Ladies ... NOTHING JUSTIFIES RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT OR HARASSMENT. 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."

The responses to her post have been overwhelmingly positive. "My sister saw this post five days ago and it gave her courage to talk about what happened to her when she would never have dared to talk about it if she had not seen it. Thank you Laeti ❤❤❤❤," one commenter wrote.

"This artist is doing amazing and incredibly empowering things with her hair," another poster wrote.

Instagram: @laetitiaky

Yes. Yes she is.

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Ky let her art speak for itself when it came to a handful of posters criticizing her #MeToo message. This perfect take is captioned: "Me when a guy says something #misoginistic..." #fckyou #hairart #blackgirlmagic #angryblackwoman"

Instagram: @laetitiaky

"Unfortunately, there are a few people who are still scared. They had arguments like it’s wrong to dress a certain way, or whatever. Every single one of them was a man. I ignored them completely," Ky told BuzzFeed News.

Not just her hairstyles, but the messages accompanying them are giving us life. "The ankh or the looped cross ☥ is the Egyptian hieroglyph representing the word 'life.'"

Instagram: @laetitiaky / Via instagram.com

And Ky hopes her art will light a spark of pride for other women as well. "For so long black women were portrayed as the least beautiful. Our hair has never been accepted — we would hide it under weaves," she told BuzzFeed News. "When our image of ourselves is distorted, we lack confidence in ourselves. The more we express ourselves, the more we value ourselves and inspire other women."

Ky's hair art is doubly inspiring at a time when high-profile black women are also talking about being shamed for their natural hair.

Instagram: @lupitanyongo / Via instagram.com

Last month, actress Lupita Nyong'o took to social media after fashion magazine Grazia cropped out her natural hair without her permission for a cover shoot. "As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too."

And a few weeks earlier, Solange Knowles called out another publication for photoshopping her hairstyle, this time removing her Orion braid crown out of its cover shoot — despite Knowles talking at length in the story about the importance and power of hair in black women's lives.

Ky, though, has magic up her sleeve for every occasion. Oh, and just in case you thought she could only work long 'dos...

Instagram: @laetitiaky / Via instagram.com

Monica Mark is the West Africa Correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Dakar, Senegal.

Contact Monica Mark at monica.mark@buzzfeed.com.

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