I Interviewed 101 Black Women About Their Hair


After hearing that her younger sister was being bullied about her natural hair, D.C.-based documentary filmmaker St. Clair Detrick-Jules snapped into Big Sister mode. The filmmaker — whose previous work includes the award-winning short film DACAmented about the fight for immigrant justice under Trump — immediately began to document a new subject: Black hair. In her own words, Detrick-Jules tells Allure how working on a book about Black hair and surrounding herself with other Black women who embrace their curls strengthened her connection to her roots. 

One day my father called me from France to tell me that my little sister Khloe was crying because she didn’t want to go to school. Her classmates had been bullying her about her natural hair. I’m bi-racial, my mom is white and my father is from Saint Barts, and out of the four of us siblings, Khloe definitely has the tightest curl pattern. Even before this incident, whenever I would see her, I always made it a point to say, “Oh my gosh, Khloe, I love your hair, it’s so beautiful, do you love it?” And she would say yes. When she started getting bullied she was four years old. She was so ashamed of her beautiful Afro. My first response was just anger. Anger at her classmates, anger at her teachers for not stopping this, anger at mainstream media for rarely presenting Afros as beautiful. I started working on My Beautiful Black Hair pretty quickly after that, and I’ve shown her pieces as I’ve been working on it throughout the past couple of years.

My initial idea was just to do a pamphlet for my sister with a couple of photos of Black women with natural hair. I didn’t think it was going to be too big. When I interviewed these Black women, I filmed them as well and thought maybe I would put together a short documentary for her too. But then as the project evolved, I decided that I really wanted to go the book route. I felt like it was important for my sister to have something to hold in her hands, something tangible so that she can almost physically feel the beauty of these women.





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