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Start Right Here! Podcast

Feb 3, 2022

This episode features photojournalist and author St. Clair Detrick-Jules. She joins the podcast to discuss making her book "My Beautiful Black Hair" and why it was vital for her to chronicle the hair and heritage of those with textured hair. 

Around the time St. Clair was concluding her studies at Brown University, she learned that her four-year-old sister, Khloe, was being bullied about her textured hair. Khloe, who lives in France, didn't have a lot of examples of beautiful Black women with textured hair in her environment, so St. Clair initially conceived it as a love letter for her little sister. But, as she began the project, it morphed into something much bigger.

St. Clair saw this as an opportunity to continue the social justice documentary filmmaking at Brown through new medium photography because texture hair itself is a social justice issue. 

'For nearly three years, St. Clair photographed and interviewed 101 women about their natural hair. She started in her hometown, Washington, DC, and moved to other East Coast cities and made it to the West Coast. 

She started photographing friends and acquaintances and then recruited others through her network. As a result, most of the women photographed are not professional models but exude beauty and confidence in their skin and hair. 

The book contains sections that include names such as "The Big Chop" but also "Liberation," "White Spaces" and "Mothers and Daughters." All of the women featured pen notes of encouragement to Khloe too.

One of the reasons that the project was important to St. Clair is that as a biracial woman, she realized that her textured hair is her connection to her heritage and history. She came to the realization in high school and more fully in college but wanted to give her young sister that foundation earlier.

Tune in to the episode to learn more about St. Clair's journey to creating this love letter for her sister, getting it published, and most of all Khloe's reaction. Plus, learn what she's thinking about doing next. 

Check out the My Beautiful Black Hair site to find out where you can get the book.  

Follow St. Clair at  @stclairdetrickjules and @mybeautifulblackhair on IG, @MBBHbook on Twitter.