Famous Women Explore The Magic Of Black Hair In Michaela Angela Davis’ The Hair Tales

March 1, 2016  |  

the hair tales

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.”

Hair Tales _Mara Brock Akil from MADFREEtv on Vimeo.

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.”

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  • Susan in PDX

    And both women here are pretty in the current socially-acceptable style: slender bodies, faces with symmetrical features, thin pointy yet pert nose, slender vertically-oriented face . . . can we see some regular Black women in this series? And how about some children, and tweens and teens, hearing their stories.

  • A818

    This has to be the biggest piece of waste of time ever. Like someone said below, why not spend time of relevant issues, such as economic independence, creating and maintaining health, building family units, etc.

    I am particularly amused at internet videos where they begin with “let me tell you about my hair.”

    • Susan in PDX

      Black hair is a hugely relevant issue. At its most basic, it is an economic depressor; white women, and for that matter Black men, already have an economic leg up because we don’t have to spend an equivalent amount of money every month on making our hair socially acceptable.

      • A818

        Bull. I guess you don’t realize that even the human body considers HAIR the least relevant of all body systems. It innately supplies or transports minerals, vitamins and other nutrients first to vital organs in order to maintain life. Hair gets what is left over.

  • Jay

    Tasha looks like Donna Summer in the picture (at least to me).

  • Lisa

    If we spent half as much time on professional development, physical fitness, family relationships and personal finance as we spent blabbing on and on about hair, we might really get somewhere and achieve something one of these days.
    Anyway, why the focus on women with a “love-hate” relationship with their hair? Why not feature someone with a love-love hair relationship for a change?

    • Masterpieced

      YES!!!!!!!!!! This is so embarrassing and silly. Tasha is especially a mockery. She is NOT embracing her hair she is extolling the virtues of hair extensions! Where is Lauryn Hill? Lupita? Anita Baker? Angela Davis?

      • Lisa

        Yeah, it was like an advertisement for her front-porch hair weaving service. Then she kept saying that the hair is so “strong” and can endure anything (contradicting herself), which is not true of anyone’s hair. Thinking that is why women (of all colors) experience heat damage and breakage and black women especially end up with the infamous disappearing edges. Maybe she is trying to convince people of that so that they will come running to get extensions from her.

        • Masterpieced

          I think it was to validate her hair style for this documentary. Why not use her OWN hair, which is full and pretty lats time I saw it.

          • Lisa

            oh, ok. I just google her and she does have a nice head of hair.

    • sweettea

      Fitness is my hobby and if I decide to to write a book or shoot a video about how I lost 50 pounds than I would want people who share my interest to give it a chance. Why can’t that same principle apply to hair?

      • Lisa

        Oh, it can and does apply to hair. It’s just that in the black community hair care, advice, and apparent hair psychological analysis is in an extreme overabundance, while I don’t see many articles or resources from or for black women specifically dealing with fitness. Black Girls Run comes to mind, but not much else. On the Finance side, names such as Mellody Hobson or Glinda Bridgforth come to mind, as well as Black Enterprise magazine. The hair topic is just tiresome sometimes.

  • Legacy

    Failing to see how either testimony is uplifting to girls with kinks and coils……….as usual.

    • Lisa

      yeah, this was weird.

    • Masterpieced

      YES. I do not get this al all.

  • GoldenGirl;)

    I’m expressive with my huurr lol and change it up. Me with just one hair style for the rest of my life? Huh? Please put me in the grave if that’s what it came to!