From St. Clair Detrick-Jules’ visual anthology

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My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Natural Hair Stories from the Sisterhood 

Natural Black hair continues to be a social and cultural debate with real-life consequences. The book My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Natural Hair Stories from the Sisterhood is a cultural homage to Black women featuring testimonies of the burdens they’ve dealt with when choosing to wear natural hair. Author St. Clair Detrick-Jules, an award-winning Afro-Caribbean filmmaker, photographer, and activist, says her motivation for creating this book was based on the horrific bullying her 4-year-old sister experienced from non-Black classmates while living in France. Detrick-Jules, a Brown University graduate and D.C. native, was determined to prove to her little sister that natural hair is beautiful and that she’s not alone in dealing with hair discrimination. Traveling around the world for two years photographing and recording personal stories of Black women to compile this beautifully crafted visual anthology, Detrick-Jules noticed other communities of color experience similar hair bias. “I’ve heard from non-Black people in the Latinx and Asian communities, for example, that curly hair is often seen as less beautiful, and that many Latinx and Asian people feel the need to straighten their hair to be seen as beautiful,” Detrick-Jules tells City Paper. The book’s collection of 101 photos of Black women’s natural hair, paired with impelling stories on their hair experiences—ranging from social discomfort, discrimination, denied education and employment to self-acceptance—lets the reader witness the repositioning of the natural hair movement, which for years has been overshadowed by Eurocentric beauty standards. The book serves as a platform for Black women to educate the world on the historical importance of their hair traditions. Detrick-Jules concludes, “I hope My Beautiful Black Hair offers an affirmation that natural hair is beautiful and worthy of love.” My Beautiful Black Hair is available wherever books are sold, including local Black-owned bookstores Mahogany Books, Loyalty Bookstores, Sankofa, and Solid State Books. stclairdetrickjules.com. $24.95.