Rising up, as soon as per week, my sister would straighten my 4a curly hair with both a blow dryer and sizzling comb or a field relaxer package. I hated each. As a tender-headed lady, the primary methodology made me really feel like my hair was being pulled out of my head, however it was tolerable compared to the relaxer package. That was an all-day course of. First the components penetrated the hair, then the neutralizer (a liquid that suppresses curls from surfacing) did the ending touches.
The stinging from the tough chemical elements felt as if I used to be being stung by a number of bees on the identical time. It was horrible, however as a Black baby, this was the method of wanting “correct.” I obtained a relaxer for varsity dances, image day, and commencement. At a younger age, I discovered that straight hair was reserved — and anticipated — for vital days. In Hulu’s new horror-satire film Dangerous Hair, Anna Bludso learns this identical lesson.
Directed by Expensive White Folks author and director Justin Simien, the movie follows round younger Black artistic Anna (performed by Elle Lorraine). The opening scene exhibits younger Anna getting a relaxer from her older sister, Linda. Anna is keen to get the relaxer out of her hair as a result of it is stinging so unhealthy, and her sister agrees to clean it out sooner than the field says whereas including, “Do not get mad once you’re simply as nappy as you ever had been.” We then see the actual harm of relaxers, as Anna’s hair falls into Linda’s fingers. Though she follows precisely what the field stated, the chemical substances are too sturdy and go away a everlasting gap in Anna’s hair that traumatizes her effectively into her maturity.
All through the movie, there are flashbacks to that horrid scene portray an excellent basis to who Anna grows as much as be. An aspiring TV host, Anna works as an assistant to the chief of Cult (a TRL-type music firm) for 4 years beneath the radar. Her longtime boss has determined to step down, leaving her with a brand new boss named Zora to show herself to. Whereas Zora is impressed by Anna’s concepts she lays out as host, she explains that none of it is going to work if she would not change her hair, which she wears pure. “Wanna be one among my women? Get your hair finished,” she says after studying that Anna kinds her 4C textured hair on her personal.
Watching the movie, I used to be shocked that Zora, a Black lady herself, would not perceive her want to guard and protect her crown. If something, she ought to perceive the wrestle to proudly put on pure hair. Do not get me fallacious, I’d have been simply as offended if Zora was white, however not as strongly as a result of I’ve come to anticipate it and have skilled it. Seeing a Black lady disgrace one other Black lady for her pure hair was an extra indication of how far idolizing European requirements has gone. It was a daring assertion arguing that regardless of how gifted or groundbreaking your concepts are, straight hair is the one actual probability Black girls have at reaching their highest goals.
This, in fact, is fake, however it’s an especially onerous mentality to interrupt. For Anna, she finally ends up following Zora’s recommendation and will get a protracted, straight weave. Anna, who earlier than felt invisible, begins getting all the appropriate kind of consideration from her job, male prospects, and random strangers on the road. She feels electrified and highly effective. The film turns scary when the weave begins to have a lifetime of its personal and we be taught it’s demon-possessed with weave wearers of the previous. The weave is after blood and prompts at a number of factors within the storyline, however it should not be seen as the primary level of the story.
Anna spends months remodeling your complete present and pivots Cult right into a place of energy and authority within the music enterprise. Nonetheless, towards the top of the film, there’s a get together to have fun the brand new launch of the model, and — simply when she thinks she’s going to get the reward and TV host place she’s earned — she once more is neglected and compelled to remain as an assistant. In different phrases, all her onerous work regardless of the brand new hair was in useless.
Dangerous Hair is ironic and uncooked as a result of it exhibits viewers all of the horrific issues Black girls undergo to have “acceptable” hair. The film is not essentially scary, however it is going to inform an unaware viewers of the problems Black girls are attempting to restore. It may be a every day problem for Black girls to really feel good and comfy in their very own pores and skin, and the film does an incredible job of encouraging Black girls to not chase weaves or artificial hair therapies for the glory of white supremacy and profession development.
Other than the weave being demon-possessed, your complete movie is one thing I’ve personally been dwelling my entire life. I have been discriminated in opposition to within the workforce for sporting my pure textured hair. I’ve felt like I needed to have straight hair for vital conferences and interviews and to progress in my profession. Sadly, you’ll be able to solely be what you see. And what I’ve seen within the company world is straight-haired girls climb to the highest and natural-hair girls constantly omitted for roles that would complement their expertise however seemingly do not match their look.
There’s a degree of fatigue being a Black lady in America. I am so glad this film got here out this 12 months, a 12 months when the world is turning into more and more conscious of the challenges Black folks face. The film is a great depiction of the inequalities that exist within the company world for Black girls. I hope the film conjures up allies to proceed to have fun Black lives and to assist actions just like the CROWN Act that rule out race-based hair discrimination.
Picture Supply: Tobin Yellan/Hulu