Every mane has a story to tell and culture critic Michaela Angela Davis is getting to the bottom of some of the most famous of them in a new web series titled, The Hair Tales.
Coining the series as the “Vagina Monologues for Black hair,” the collection delves into Black women’s love-hate relationship with their locks by inviting women like Mara Brock Akil, Kim Coles, Tasha Smith, Regina King, Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors, and more to tell openly their uniquely personal hair tale to the world.
“I’ve been obsessed with hair my whole life, partly because people were obsessed with my hair my whole life — the ‘otherness’ of it,” Davis told Refinery 29 of the motivation for the series. “It was kinky, yet it was blond; it caused both admiration and confusion. Doing The Hair Tales was mostly about love. I love Black hair, and I love our stories.”
Though so far only two of the series’ episodes have gone live, what I already love most about the short vignettes is how they open with an answer to the question: What is magic about Black hair? In addressing that, writer and producer Akil said:
“I think what’s magic about Black girl hair is, wow so much, but at it’s basic level it’s just resilient…it’s transformative. When you don’t feel so strong your hair can be a sign of empowerment.”
In episode 1, actress Smith remarked:
“One thing about Black girl hair that I don’t think we always appreciate is that it’s strong; it’s strong! I used to think coarse hair was a negative thing… but no, I’ve grown to really love my hair and the strength within what I used to think was nappy hair when really it’s just strong hair that can endure anything.”
The Hair Tales will run throughout the month of March in honor of Women’s History Month, and for Davis that timing is especially befitting given all of the conversations that are being had about Black women and their hair these days.
“Recently, there’s been so much drama about Black hair and appropriation in pop culture, and there’s no better way to bring understanding and information than by telling stories,” she said. “There are so many non-Black women and people that don’t know the full culture of our hair, so it’s exciting to share these stories that are rarely told.”