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A collection of empowering stories and captivating photos, My Beautiful Black Hair celebrates an aspect of Black femininity—natural hair—and embraces it as a central part of Black womanhood.
My Beautiful Black Hair is a book about Black women embracing their natural hair. One hundred and one Black women share their stories of learning to love their natural hair and the immense power in that self-love.
St. Clair Detrick-Jules was inspired to write the book when her little sister, Khloe, came home from preschool where a classmate had told her that her hair was ugly. St. Clair wanted to send a message to Khloe and young Black women everywhere that their hair is beautiful just the way it is.
The stories she captured reveal both the depth of the physical and emotional damage done to many women by relaxing their hair and trying to make it look "acceptable," and the incredible resilience, self-love, and acceptance they gained by learning to embrace their hair and free themselves from Eurocentric beauty standards.
"My Beautiful Black Hair is a divine example of courage, self-love, acceptance, and diversity. It's a stunning collection that everyone needs to sit with, explore, and share with the little black girl in their life." – from the foreword by Alex Elle, author of After the Rain
"A powerful celebration of self-acceptance and sisterhood." – Kirkus Review
"A love letter to all Black women who are navigating the glorious landscape of our crowns." – Rachel Cargle, public academic, writer, lecturer
"The images are glorious, the anecdotes at times tender, at times seething. The entire book is powerful." – Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X and Clap When You Land
"This is the most powerful and empowering book of natural hair I've ever seen." – Celai West, International model and natural hair icon and influencer
A note from St. Clair Detrick-Jules, author and photographer of My Beautiful Black Hair
It was my little sister Khloe who inspired me to conduct these interviews, take these photos, and create this book, My Beautiful Black Hair. I was determined to break that cycle for Khloe. And not just for my little sister, but for all sisters of the Black diaspora.
I turned to my sisters—Black women I had grown up with, gone to college with, met through friends, and admired from afar—and they rose to the occasion. I hope Khloe sees herself reflected in them. I hope she comes away from it with greater insight into who she is, where she comes from, and where she fits into the diaspora. My hope is the same for every Black woman who comes across this book who remembers being in Khloe’s shoes.
It’s not just about hair. It’s about how we choose to live our lives. If we take the words of wisdom that these women are offering Khloe into our own lives, then we feel—and become—indestructible.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
Absolutely beautiful photography. A celebration of black women and their hair. The photos alone are a reason to read the book but the interviews are lovely. One that sticks with me is self-love is an action. And this book showed, often, that phrase in action. That loving yourself is a decision. And one you need to continue to make. It's a book about black women and their hair for black women. But I think anyone can read it and be inspired to love themselves, as they are. To be less judgemental and to accept everyone for their differences. Our differences are what makes us all beautiful. After finishing it I feel better about myself and the world. I want everyone to read it and to see that they are beautiful and to be able to see beauty in others.
Thank you. Gracias. Merci. This book is needed and necessary. It is time that girls, teens and women embrace and love their crowns. Natural state connects you to the source. Natural is healing. Natural is divine. This book is full of stories, essays and letters informing the reader of the journeys to self acceptance, love and peace. This is a gift to Khloe that will free and help others. I will gift this to the young ladies and women in my world. Brava!
Words can’t explain how much I love this book. I picked this book because I wanted to read stories from Black women about their relationship with their hair, and I got that and more. The book is split into eight chapters. Within each one is a collection of beautiful portraits and insights from women of all ages. As an African-American young woman, each story hit home from experiences at prep schools to the pushback some receive from their mothers when one decides to go natural. There were stories about how natural hair influences our relationship with ourselves, our families, and our communities. This book is one that I wish I had when I was a child or even when I first went natural. Nothing is more comforting than seeing people who look like me celebrating the qualities that aren't often celebrated by mainstream Western culture. This book is a celebration of blackness that, for me, is much needed after the horror of 2020. I will definitely be picking up a print copy when it is released. Thank you to NetGalley for an advance reader’s copy!
St. Cair Detrick-Jules connected an amazing group of interviews, personal stories, and photos to create a moving book. It was comforting reading from women who went through the same feelings that I did. I always had natural hair because my mom did not want to put straightener or relaxer in it. My view of my hair changed as I went to predominantly-white schools. I used braids, weave, and wigs to get the desired straight look. She never let me dye or cut my hair. But, it was all for the best. Now, I still have an iffy relationship with it, like many of the women or girls from all backgrounds, nationalities, and ages, but the book helped me. In this book, every woman reading it was/is Khloe. But, this self-acceptance of ourselves should resonate and travel to acceptance of our natural hair. My Beautiful Black Hair. I recommend this for all of my type 4 sisters who struggled watching YouTube videos to try, and fail, to achieve that hairstyle. This is for us.
This is a wonderful book with thoughtful commentary and beautiful photography. A clear exprssion of joy around natural hair. A must-have for all the branches of my South Atlanta library system.
What great stories for me to read and share with my niece and Sister-in-Law! So honest, raw and refreshing. I received a copy o this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and h9best review.
I feel like I need to get a hard copy of this book and just keep it for my daughter. When she is old enough, I hope she will know that her hair is beautiful as it is. Should she decide to straighten it, let it be because its want SHE wants but not because society has taught her that black hair is unacceptable. This is such a powerful, affirming read. Filled with beautiful pictures and stories of natural hair, it is quite a powerful read. I could resonate with these women. I grew up straightening my hair with heat and at some point, with chemicals. With me it wasn’t about identity but more because I thought my natural hair was unpresentable and unmanageable. A decade ago, I went natural and almost lost my job because someone thought natural, black hair was unprofessional. I stood strong and began a silent revolt that led to the change of policies and now I can smile when I see more women with their natural afros and dreadlocks. This was quite a thought-provoking read that challenged me on my thoughts about black hair and identity. I enjoyed the celebration of natural hairstyles and liked reading about different journeys that the women took towards acceptance and self-love. What a beautiful, powerful read.
This book is absolutely beautiful. It was the inspiration that I needed as I did the big chop and embraced my natural hair after 38 years of chemical straightening. I think that anyone who is struggling with their natural hair roots, especially younger queens, will enjoy the photos and testimonials of all the contributors. Just like I did! Thanks to Net Galley for the advance copy.