As Told By Black Women

Cherilyn Beckles
Production Coordinator based in Brooklyn, NY
As Told By Black Women' is a body of work that explores the relationship Black Women have with their hair and how the Eurocentric lens of beauty has shaped how they view themselves. This project started off as my Masters Thesis of Visual Communications from Newhouse and quickly blossomed into something more.


Over the course of 7 months, I photographed 25 women from different age ranges and hair types leading with the question "What does good hair mean to you". In the Black community having “good hair” means having long loose curls, not short “nappy hair”. Women who cut their hair close to their heads are seen as manly or unattractive leading many to believe that their hair is their only identity. Struggling not only with everyday upkeep of Black hair but also trying to be accepted by their community in the choices they make regarding how they wear it.


This deep-rooted culture around hair within the Black community and what it means to us individually is what sparked my passion for learning about different perspectives on this topic.Hearing from these women and listening to their stories I was able to learn new experiences and appreciate those that differed from mine.  I am hoping that with this body of work I will be able to open up further dialogue on Black hair and the oftentimes negative commentary and pressure that not only people outside of the Black community push on us but also ones that come from within it.

View the full story here:

" I knew that I did not look like the other Black girls around me at the time..."

-Cathy Butler

"Those at the bottom of the totem pole are 4C with coily kinky hair."

-Nesha Bastien

"I don't think people want Black women to be confident..."

-Xaria Anderson

"I never felt confident with my hair..."
-Maddi Brown

"People of color see Caucasian hair and think that is good hair"

-Rachael Sylvester

"Sometimes I would try to look like some people with their hair...but now I am happy with my hair."

-Alahna McGill
"[Black Hair] was never  really shown in the media as was shown as chaotic or nappy.."

-Azzure McClain

"You have already what you probably want"

-Cynthia Davis

" I don't want to make everyone look bad and think that is what Black hair looks like all the time"​


"The whole world is changing so why not start off with my hair"

-Sariyah Richards
Public Story
As Told By Black Women
Copyright Cherilyn Beckles 2022
Updated Aug 2021
Location New York
Topics Beauty, Black women, Culture, Hair, Hair types