A woman’s identification with her hair can be a powerful thing, but for a black woman, it is a tangled identity fraught with the ongoing effects of racism, respectability politics and beauty standards that have historically marginalized our hair along with everything else.
With the rise of the natural hair movement, it’s sometimes easy to forget that not all of us are proudly rocking our natural textures and that for some, outdated notions of femininity and desirability are intertwined with the way we wear our tresses.
This is the pretext of Netflix’s upcoming original movie, Nappily Ever After, starring Sanaa Lathan (who famously shaved her head for the role). Based on the 2001 bestselling book by Trisha R. Thomas, it is the story of one woman’s breakthrough—and the hair that might be holding her back.
Lathan plays Venus Johnson, a beautiful and highly successful woman who seems to have everything except the ring she so deeply desires. When her longtime boyfriend refuses to commit, she cuts him off—and her hair soon follows. Forced to find out who she really is behind the curtain, Venus must face her insecurities and dismantle everything she thought she knew about herself, hopefully growing into her truth in the process.
The Glow Up tip: Nappily Ever After premieres on September 21 on Netflix.