Netflix has women of color cheering and ready to tune in thanks to a new movie featuring Sanaa Lathan. Nappily Ever After will follow a black woman as she re-evaluates the relationship she has had with her hair for her entire life.
For some people, the idea that your hair could rule your life and literally change the way you interact with your world might seem silly. The number of “it’s just hair” comments (predominantly from non-POC’s – POC meaning people of color) that the trailer got is proof of that. But if you’ve grown up with hair that was considered “nappy,” then you’ll relate to what you see on screen. For ages, women of color – black girls, brown girls, afro-latinas, etc. who have kinky and coily hair have been almost forced to straighten it with chemicals and hot combs if they wanted to exist in society with minimal judgement.
If you think that’s a thing of the past, you’re not paying attention. Even our military places rules on hair that essentially ask women of color to not embrace their natural texture. The pressure doesn’t just come from the outside world, either. Some of us had things said to us by our mothers and grandmothers like:
“It’s just as easy to fall in love with a white man, that way your daughters will have good hair.” (thanks for that one, abuelita.)
Literally yesterday, a close friend’s mother told her that her daughter needed to get her hair done on the morning of her birthday party so that she wouldn’t be “an embarrassment.” Friend’s daughter is turning six. Friend said no, she didn’t want to force her daughter to sit through painful hot combs which would mean she couldn’t play in the sprinklers or get sweaty on her birthday. Friend wanted her daughter to be able to play and enjoy her day, and a little girls natural hair texture is not an embarrassment.
Her mother got angry and hung up on her.
So for those who have had their natural texture called “unprofessional”, “messy”, “nappy”, “embarrassing”, “unkempt”, “problematic” or flat out “unattractive” – this new show might just speak to you. Here’s the trailer.
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) August 2, 2018
Of course some people don’t get it.
Jesus, it’s hair. Relax.
— Ben (@makaben9) August 5, 2018
So basically black people are ashamed of their African roots ..lol Netflix think this is entertainment ??? Its bull shit .
— The RIGHT agenda (@BlueBritannia) August 5, 2018
And why make it about race? Are black people the only people with curly hair and dreads? No lol
— ❌Trump2020❌ (@Citizens1stUSA) August 5, 2018
And why do black girls need this?
— Devanshu (@devanshudhapwal) August 5, 2018
But for the most part, people recognized what an important mirror this project holds up for a huge portion of the community.
well this took me down memory lane. sheesh. this my childhood. that hot comb y'all don't know pressure until you gotta hold your ear down so your moms can catch those edges.
— Noelle (@elleperks44) August 2, 2018
— Ms. Curtis Brooks (@cb74745) August 5, 2018
The amount of strength, pride, and identity that black women hold in their hair is both mentally/physically exhausting and completely liberating. https://t.co/xenTg5KzEq
— Raissa Ames (@rai_ames) August 4, 2018
I hated the straightening comb. I remember hiding it in the bushes when I was in third grade so I didn’t have to get my hair pressed before going to school that morning. I got busted
— fawn rogers (@mamafawn) August 5, 2018
Called my sister, nieces & girlfriends immediately and told them about it…looking like a party watch is coming together in September
— Sandra E (@SandraE_NYgirl) August 5, 2018
I’m cryinggggg, because I literally did this with my hair. Shaving it off is such a life changing experiencing and I’ll never change what I went through. https://t.co/fXPLL6FIKk
— hi welcome to chili’s (@bxdlvnds) August 4, 2018
The project is set to debut on Netflix on September 21.