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'My Beautiful Black Hair' encourages Black women to embrace their hair

People sitting at a row of desks facing a presenter at the front of the room. There is a picture of a Black girl with curly hair shown on two projector screens at the front of the room.
Anna Johnson
St. Clair Detrick-Jules spoke about the 101 women she interviewed for her book, "My Beautiful Black Hair."

St. Clair Detrick-Jules is a photographer, writer and filmmaker from Washington D.C.

Her four-year-old sister’s experience of being bullied for her natural hair inspired her to write her book “My Beautiful Black Hair.”

“My little sister Khloe was four when her classmates began bullying her about her afro. She came home from school crying was really ashamed and embarrassed of having curly hair instead of straight hair, like all of her classmates,” she said.

“I wanted to be able to give her some sense of representation and help her understand that even though she doesn’t see people who look like her in her classroom, there is actually this whole community of Black women who do have natural hair who do love and embrace their natural hair,” she said.

Her book includes photos and stories from 101 Black women who have learned to accept and love their Black hair.

While visiting Utah State University, Friday, she spoke to students and community members about accepting yourself as a form of courage.

She read excerpts and showed videos of interviews with the women included in the book. Their stories, while each unique, were united around their journey with accepting and loving their natural hair.

She said in writing this book, she came to understand her connection to her own hair even more, “As I interviewed more women, I think I gained an even stronger appreciation for my natural hair in terms of how it connects to our culture, our history, our ancestors.”

Detrick-Jules said her sister, now 10, has fallen in love with her afro since the book came out.

“It can take us years and years if not decades to come to the place of self-love where Khloe is now. She wants to help other Black girls love their natural hair now.”

You can find more about Detrick-Jules' books, including books for children, here.

Anna grew up begging her mom to play music instead of public radio over the car stereo on the way to school. Now, she loves radio and the power of storytelling through sound. While she is happy to report on anything from dance concerts to laughter practice, her main focus at UPR is political reporting. She is studying Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University and wants to work in political communication after she graduates. In her free time, she spends time with her rescue dog Quigley and enjoys rock climbing.