Nappily Ever After: My Review
I didn’t like the short film, “Nappily Ever After.” I didn’t appreciate the title and I didn’t like the idea that it perpetuated the agenda that natural hair is bad. It was just silly to me and way too predictable. I understand it was trying to teach women to like their natural hair, but I did not like how they went about conveying their message. It was one of those movies where I was screaming like I would in ridiculous scary movies when all they had to do was run.
In the opening scene, her hair swelled after jumping in the water and she was chastised by both her mother and surrounding children. When I was growing up, we played in water and swam as much as we liked. My mother didn’t straighten my hair for years because she believed it made little girls think they were too grown. If I wanted to swim, my mother would braid my hair or put ponytails and barrettes in my hair so I could enjoy myself. Who would send their daughter to the pool like that with that texture of hair? And if you did let them be free, who would make them feel like crap about it? No, you go home and redo it! It was just silly to me and so silly that I couldn’t even focus on the message they were trying to deliver. Little girls should be little girls. I blame the mother and father in this scene for trying to make their daughter live like a 21-year old woman.
The idea of perfection drove me nuts as well. It wasn’t that she was at fault for wanting her hair to be perfect, because trust me, so did I as a little girl. It was the idea that her hair had to perfectly straight. I was very vain about my hair as a little girl and still am to this day. It had to be neat, parts had to be symmetrically straight and my hair had to be perfectly braided or twisted or I wasn’t going out! But never did my mother allow me to fixate on the idea of straight hair which was something I despised in this movie. I used to want my hair like Da Brat. Clearly, it had to get straightened for that. But she never let me wear my hair like Becky or add relaxers because my hair wasn’t meant to be worn that way as hard as I played.
Your hair does not make you. I can admit that I used to be way too intrigued by length. The longer the hair, the prettier it was to me. I finally got over that when I understood that each person’s hair has a life span and healthy hair matters over length. I would cut my hair all the time due to split ends. It was then after rocking short hair from having long hair my whole life, that I realized I am not my hair. I was still just as beautiful and confident with long hair down my back or a short, pixie style. I just got to a point where health mattered over anything even length. We have to know thyself and I got tired of relaxer burns, time wasted in beauty shops and defying gravity with my hair. There is nothing straight about my hair so finally, in 2012, I quit fighting it.
Natural hair isn’t for everybody. But your hair was made specifically for you. Unless you have a medical hair condition, your hair does not need to be fixed. It is fine the way it is. Whether your hair is fine, poofy, swelling, frizzy, shrinking, big, short, long, wavy or curly, your hair was perfectly made for you. And it certainly isn’t nappy because it doesn’t fit Eurocentric beauty standards. It may be tightly wound, but nappy is such a negative word. I believe a lot of women don’t go natural out of sheer fear of being told to fix their nappy hair. Nappy headed lil’ girl is just as damaging as nigga is to Black men and women.
Finally, I didn’t like how she felt about herself was always based on external opinions. For example, when she walked into work, she loved the stares, but when she cut her hair that was like a cancer patient, which was totally rude and insensitive by the way, she was a nobody. These are the messages that we constantly feed to young black women and reasons why they cannot and will not wear their natural hair. Have confidence in yourself regardless if you like your texture or not. You don’t have to like you hair, but you must love it as it is an extension of you! It is your crown and take care of it regardless of what products you may need to add to it.
Overall, I appreciate the main actor cutting her hair in Hollywood to show people that it is still beautiful. But in the movie, that was not portrayed. She didn’t cut her hair to be liberated; she did it after a drunken rage and regretted it the very next day and walked around hiding it. I didn’t like the connotations of that message either. When I cut my hair, I forced myself to love it! It was a conscious decision that I dwelled on. If you can’t cut your hair, just transition. And if you like straight hair, make a choice. You don’t need a relaxer to wear straight hair. Just make sure you do it in a healthy manner so you don’t further damage your hair. Not everyone can go from curly to straight and back to curly so you truly do have to make a choice if you don’t have the luxury of doing both.
I really don’t care what women do with their hair! Just love your natural hair too! If you like a weave, cool! If you like braids, cool! If you like color, cool! If you prefer it straight, cool! If you like to switch it up from time to time, cool! The problem isn’t this at all to me. The problem is that women are scared to death to wear their natural hair, they hate it and don’t take care of it. Love you and your hair. And if none of it matters, shave it off and rock your hairless life. But hair does matter and it has for over 300 years hence Black women were forced to cover their hair in order to not look beautiful during slavery. But when women prefer sores from relaxers, alopecia from weaves and heat damage from flat irons to feel beautiful over their natural hair, that’s the real problem.
I will be happy when women can just love their hair naturally curly or naturally straight. Just love it.