If you’re looking for something to watch on Halloween, look no further than Hulu’s original movie Bad Hair. The comedy-horror film takes place in 1989 and adds a lot of social commentary on what it was like to be a woman working in media during that time. WARNING: SPOILERS ARE AHEAD.
When the movie opens we meet our main character Anna who is played by Elle Lorraine from “Dear White People.” The opening scene shows us a younger Anna receiving her first relaxer which does not go well. The relaxer ends up taking out some of Anna’s hair and leaving a burn on the back of her head. The movie jumps to the present, and Anna is rocking her natural hair. Now, as an adult Anna works at a television company known as Culture. One day the company is overturned to White executives (something that did happen to the Black-owned station BET). Culture is put into the hands of Vanessa Williams’ character Zora, whose goal is to revamp the network to be less hood and have it appeal to a mainstream Caucasian audience.
An important thing that this movie didn’t shy away from were the hoops that Black women had and continue to jump through when it comes to working in media. Our appearance is questioned constantly, most specifically because of the way we choose to wear our hair.
While rocking her natural hair Anna garners stares from people within the workplace. Once Zora looks to Anna to be an assistant she informs her that she will need to change her appearance by getting a sew-in. The most triggering scene was watching Anna receive her first sew-in. The application process, which drew blood at times, proves to be a very painful experience for her as she flashes back to when her scalp was scorched by a relaxer.
After receiving the painful sew-in, Anna soon begins to realize that the weave is bloodthirsty and dangerous. Her weave ends up killing people like her predatory landlord and her manipulative ex. It’s important to note that the weave always looked its best after receiving a fresh taste of blood. There is even a mythical story within the story that talks about an unruly massive amount of hair that tries to have its way in the world.
This movie has an all-star cast including Kelly Rowland, Lena Waithe, Usher, Leverne Cox, and Blair Underwood. On top of that, it provides a very important social commentary, which is that for decades Black women have had to sacrifice their integrity so that their appearance could fit the standard of beauty that appeals to Caucasians. I’ll end on this quote stated by Sista Soul, played by Yanni King: “I just wanna work at a place where I don’t have to look like a different b**** every week to do what I love.”
Don’t forget to check out Bad Hair on Hulu and Happy Halloween!
By Monique Petty-Ashmeade, DePaul University, Freshman