The best Black hair books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Black hair and why they recommend each book.

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Afros

By Michael July,

Book cover of Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair

I love these photos! Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair perfectly captures the power, strength, and diversity of the afro. July has done a phenomenal job using his camera to showcase the absolute beauty of natural hair. While photography in its beginnings was often used as an instrument of anti-Blackness, with scientists and others using pictures to “prove” that Black people were somehow less than human, July has done a phenomenal job upending this by using his camera to create an affirmation by and for Black folks, reminding us to let go of Eurocentric beauty standards and embrace our crowns.


Who am I?

I’m an Afro-Caribbean-American filmmaker, photographer, author, and activist from Washington, DC. After graduating from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Francophone Studies, I began pursuing a completely different career path: social activism through art and storytelling. I capture personal stories and intimate moments centering on Black liberation, immigrant justice, and women’s rights. My work is grounded in radical love, joy, and the knowledge that a more just world is possible. My award-winning documentary DACAmented has been internationally recognized, and my book My Beautiful Black Hair has been featured in The Washington Post, Buzzfeed News, and NPR’s Strange Fruit, among others.


I wrote...

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

By St. Clair Detrick-Jules,

Book cover of My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Natural Hair Stories from the Sisterhood

What is my book about?

One hundred and one Black women share their stories of learning to love their natural hair. The stories captured in the book 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 embracing their hair and freeing themselves from Eurocentric beauty standards.

Accompanied by beautiful and intimate photographs of each woman and dedicated to St. Clair’s little sister who was bullied for her afro, My Beautiful Black Hair is an encouraging voice for all Black women working towards self-acceptance.

Twisted

By Emma Dabiri,

Book cover of Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture

Dabiri’s use of history and personal storytelling to deconstruct and illuminate the long story of Black hair is crucial in that it allows readers to understand that our Black hair has history. The movement against natural Black hair is rooted in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and our own structures of government have always backed the anti-blackness that criminalized, scapegoated, or invisibilized our hair; this book celebrates our natural hair but also serves as historical education, which is so important if we’re to see natural Black hair not as a stylish trend but as a necessary part of our liberation. Dabiri reminds us that, while our hair is so often used as a weapon against us, it also has the power to liberate us.


Who am I?

I’m an Afro-Caribbean-American filmmaker, photographer, author, and activist from Washington, DC. After graduating from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Francophone Studies, I began pursuing a completely different career path: social activism through art and storytelling. I capture personal stories and intimate moments centering on Black liberation, immigrant justice, and women’s rights. My work is grounded in radical love, joy, and the knowledge that a more just world is possible. My award-winning documentary DACAmented has been internationally recognized, and my book My Beautiful Black Hair has been featured in The Washington Post, Buzzfeed News, and NPR’s Strange Fruit, among others.


I wrote...

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

By St. Clair Detrick-Jules,

Book cover of My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Natural Hair Stories from the Sisterhood

What is my book about?

One hundred and one Black women share their stories of learning to love their natural hair. The stories captured in the book 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 embracing their hair and freeing themselves from Eurocentric beauty standards.

Accompanied by beautiful and intimate photographs of each woman and dedicated to St. Clair’s little sister who was bullied for her afro, My Beautiful Black Hair is an encouraging voice for all Black women working towards self-acceptance.

Queens

By Michael Cunningham, George Alexander,

Book cover of Queens: Portraits of Black Women and their Fabulous Hair

The narratives in this book from women in the United States, London, and Ghana--accompanied by gorgeous portraits--capture a slice of the Black hair diaspora and the place where it all started: West Africa. The title says it all and yet can’t begin to capture the gorgeous array of women, hairstyles, and lived experiences captured by Cunningham and Alexander.


Who am I?

I’m an Afro-Caribbean-American filmmaker, photographer, author, and activist from Washington, DC. After graduating from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Francophone Studies, I began pursuing a completely different career path: social activism through art and storytelling. I capture personal stories and intimate moments centering on Black liberation, immigrant justice, and women’s rights. My work is grounded in radical love, joy, and the knowledge that a more just world is possible. My award-winning documentary DACAmented has been internationally recognized, and my book My Beautiful Black Hair has been featured in The Washington Post, Buzzfeed News, and NPR’s Strange Fruit, among others.


I wrote...

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

By St. Clair Detrick-Jules,

Book cover of My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Natural Hair Stories from the Sisterhood

What is my book about?

One hundred and one Black women share their stories of learning to love their natural hair. The stories captured in the book 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 embracing their hair and freeing themselves from Eurocentric beauty standards.

Accompanied by beautiful and intimate photographs of each woman and dedicated to St. Clair’s little sister who was bullied for her afro, My Beautiful Black Hair is an encouraging voice for all Black women working towards self-acceptance.

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