We’ve seen plenty of documentaries on black hair, good hair, and everything in between, but British-Nigerian filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa is exploring an area of black women’s hair journeys that we talk about often but hasn’t been captured on film: transitioning.
In an op-ed on the New York Times, the Brooklyn-based documentary maker and video artist explained the basis for her film.
“There are as many ‘natural hair journeys’ as there are transitioning women. What I find remarkable about the movement is the way it is spreading through black women in America. Many are transitioning silently, without much fanfare. Some are inspired by friends and family members who have already made the switch. As Anu Prestonia, the owner of Khamit Kinks, a natural hair salon in Brooklyn, told me, ‘There’s been an evolutionary process that has turned into a revolution.’ It is not an angry movement. Women aren’t saying their motivation is to combat Eurocentric ideals of beauty. Rather, this is a movement characterized by self-discovery and health.”
In the beginning of the film, we see Zina get her head shaved for the first time ever and going through the emotions many new naturals do, worrying about their physical appearance and how they’ll handle not having any hair at all. And though Zina didn’t plan to actually include herself in the film initially, she said doing so “forced me to examine how I felt about my hair with more honesty than ever before.”
Beyond Zina, we see 50 or so other women she randomly struck up conversations with on the street to ask them to talk about their hair journeys. Most women were relatively new naturals, having transitioned within the last three years or so, highlighting how this movement has taken off in recent years and the different motivations and experiences each woman has.
Check out the trailer for the film here and tell us what you think.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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