Love and Justice book review | A Journey of Empowerment, Activism, and Embracing Black Beauty

Love
Love & Justice by Laetitia Ky
224 pages
publishes April 5th, 2022

Laetitia Ky is a polyvalent artist, a one-of-a-kind creative voice, and a hugely popular Instagram and TikTok influencer with millions of followers. Ky uses her own hair (with the help of extensions, wool, wire, and thread) to craft and photograph unique and compelling sculptures. As a passionate advocate for social justice, Ky shines a light on the pressing issues of our time: sex-based and racial oppression, harmful beauty standards, shame and its corrosive effect on mental health, and more.

Love and Justice showcases 135 remarkable photographs interwoven with stories about Ky’s Ivory Coast childhood, her strong family ties, her embrace of her African roots, her own journey toward self-love, and her desire to lift up other women— especially Black women. Ky’s striking words and images honestly celebrate women’s sexuality and the female body and call for women’s empowerment—extending a generous invitation for us all to love ourselves and to work toward a more just world.

This is a fantastic book that is half personal essay and half photography, although some of it feels like a textbook or a magazine, with little callouts of blocks of texts with facts about the Ivory Coast or explanations about African culture. Laetitia Ky’s hair sculptures and modeling is absolutely magnificent, and it’s laid out well throughout the book. There’s one where Ky is lying on the beach and her hair acts as the head of the alligator — I thought this was supremely clever and quite funny. I think this would be a lovely book to keep on your coffee table. Four stars. Bookshop link.

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