An 8-year-old girl in Michigan who was barred from participating in school picture day because her hairstyle was deemed “extreme” is learning to move on from the experience after a photographer reached out to do a confidence-building photo shoot.
Marian Scott made headlines back in October after her mother, LaToya Scott, took to Facebook to complain about the way that the third-grader was treated by administrators at Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson, Mich. According to LaToya, Marian was feeling confident when she left home rocking a bun with black and red hair extensions but ended up coming home defeated and even cried after her school’s principal explained that she wouldn’t be able to take the photos. Now, Chicago-based photographer, Jermaine Horton, made sure to give the little girl the photos of her dreams.
Marian’s father, Doug Scott, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Horton had reached out to local Michigan station WILX after seeing the girl’s story on TV. Soon after, Horton and the family had connected and planned the empowering photo shoot, complete with clothing funded by companies like Rich Girl Candy.
“I’ve never been a little girl, so I don’t know what their dreams and their ambitions are. But I can only imagine a girlie little girl has always imagined herself at a photo shoot or being dressed up like a princess,” Doug says. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
The experience was necessary for Marian, whose parents say she started to realize the way that she was being treated differently at school because of her hair and began to feel ashamed about it. Now, she goes to a public school where LaToya and Doug say she is allowed to express herself more freely.
“Now she’s got a ton of friends and she loves the new school. No uniform, no restrictions on hair. She can express herself and not have to worry about it,” Doug explains.
Horton, the photographer behind her recent photo shoot, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that giving Marian the freedom to express herself emotionally was also his main goal.
“I have heard this story many times over, dealing with black children and their choice of hair — whether it’s dreads, the length of their hair, the color of their hair,” he says of his desire to help out. “You could just tell it was like a sigh of relief afterward. It just feels good to be a part of it.”
Both Horton and Marian’s parents say that Marian was a little shy at first, before playing her favorite Ariana Grande songs on set. After that, she was a natural in front of the camera.
Still, the most important part of the entire photo shoot was Marian’s choice of hairstyle, which was done with the red hair extensions that got her barred from school photos in the first place.
“Keep that red hair, I want that red hair,” Horton recalls telling the family. “I want her to be herself. and I’m glad that she was able to be that.”
“She wanted to make a statement,” LaToya said of her daughter. “We came up with red hair, don’t care.”
Now, Doug says that his daughter wants to continue to be in the public eye, as long as she’s doing it to bring attention to a positive cause.
“Just being able to get into the camera’s eye and have that experience, it gave her a whole different outlook on what her possibilities are for life. And that’s amazing,” he says. “We’re very glad that we got to go through this experience. Even through the negative things that were said, there’s so much positive that’s come out of this that the negativities been overshadowed.”
And while Marian’s father shares his hope that other kids get to experience what she did, Horton assures that they will with his latest project called ‘The Art of Confidence.’
“I saw the result of what it did for Marian and I said, what if we could do this for other children who need their confidence restored? The children are our future, they’re everything that we need to have this world be better.”
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