A celebration of the natural hairstyles of black kids

On left, Shaniqua’s frohawk. On right, Richard’s lightning bolt tramlines. (Emily Stein)

Photographer Emily Stein‘s young neighbors, children in a black family, were being chastised at school for having hairstyles that were “too colorful.” “[It] struck me as upsetting and something I wanted to celebrate,” she said via email.

So she and an assistant ran all over the streets of London to create a photographic appreciation of black children’s myriad hair sculptures. The pair would dash after children sporting a creative hairstyle, ask the parents’ permission to take a photo, and then quickly tape up a sheet of brightly colored paper as a backdrop.

“I try to make the experience really fun for the kids … and I’m pretty immature and over excitable, so I don’t think kids find me intimidating,” she said. Stein let the children take the lead and select their own poses. Some were shy and tried to hide from the camera. Jahmari, the boy with the hi-top fade, hit pose after pose like a professional model.

“I hope that people who look at the series would feel the positive energy of youth and the spirit of undiluted individuality,” she said.

To see more of Stein’s work on Instagram, click here

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