When the trailer for Nappily Ever After starring Sanaa Lathan hit the internet I think a lot of women were able to instantly relate to Lathan’s character, Violet Jones, within the first 20 seconds. Violet is a perfectionist, and her mother instilled in her that she should always have her hair “fixed perfectly,” which many black girls have also been raised to maintain their hair.
In the intro for the trailer her “perfect” hairstyles required hot combs, perms, and weaves to give her long straight hair. This movie really taps into the psychological challenges that black women face when it comes to styling their hair and the ideas of beauty that have been forced onto us starting at a very young age. Violet kept her hair slayed and laid, she was well respected at her corporate job, and she was expecting her boyfriend to propose to her; but when things started to fall apart she tried changing her hair again to redeem her perfect reputation.
While in the salon a little girl tells her, she could be sponsoring children with all the money that she invests in her hair and that night when her new do didn’t quite make her feel any better about the way things were playing out in her life she breaks down crying as she shaves her head in the mirror forcing her to find beauty within herself without help from her hair.
Cutting your hair can be an emotional milestone because we have a strange unspoken relationship with our hair. It’s a feature we use to define our beauty and identity. Embracing your natural hair teaches black women not to conform to what others believe to be beautiful and to love the features that we are born with. Coco Chanel once said “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”
Sanaa Lathan is a wonderful actress and I can’t wait to see this movie on Netflix on September 21, 2018. Nappily Ever After is definitely a storyline that should inspire and encourage black women to embark on a self-love journey that isn’t influenced by media beauty norms.