For centuries, Black folks have been pressured by society to dislike their natural hair. Things are no different for today’s youth who are bullied by peers and suspended by school officials for wearing braids, locs, afros, and other styles — all while losing self-esteem in the process.
Several state governments have addressed the issue with legislation, and companies have launched hair-positive campaigns, but hair discrimination remains an issue for Black boys and girls.
That’s why Jermaine Horton, a Chicago-based luxury photographer, founded The Art of Confidence Project — a non-profit organization that empowers youth who’ve faced discrimination to regain confidence through free photoshoots.
“These days, there are so many children taking their own lives because of a lack of confidence and feeling like they don’t have a safe space,” Horton tells Word In Black. “That is completely unacceptable.”
Since its founding in 2018, the organization has helped nearly 20 children across the country see themselves through a new lens.
It all started when Horton read a news article about Marian Scott, an 8-year-old girl in Michigan who was denied school pictures because her red-colored braids were considered unacceptable.