“I will not draw attention to myself”
When she was 10, Sara had to write this sentence 1500 times in the Principal’s office as a punishment.
Her egregious offense? Going to school in her natural hair.
In the all-white school in the all-white Oregon town she grew up in, her hair was deemed an unforgivable distraction by her teachers and Principal.
It took her two full days to write those sentences. She was forced to miss class during that time. Over two decades later, she still has marks on her fingers.
In this styled editorial collaboration, having her hair completely natural was really important for Sara, both as a protest against those who shamed her for it as a child, and as a way to experience her freedom and power today.
Using a playground as our main set, Sara first expressed the trauma that her childhood self faced - the isolation of growing up as the only child who looked like her, the constant racism that she had to endure, the feeling of being trapped.
And once she had gotten the tears out, the rest of the shoot was about her being playful, whimsical, and joyful, reclaiming the childhood innocence that she, like many young black girls in this country, was not allowed to have.