Their Dos Inspired Us: The Top Black Hair Heroines In Films

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Movies can be etched into our minds for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we are captivated by memorable performances. Others have great soundtracks that have us singing the songs long after the movie has ended. For some, we are magically transported to far flung exotic locales or back in time through stunning imagery and imaginative wardrobe and set design…

And sometimes, it’s the hair.

Here is a list of the top 10 movies that stick in our minds because the sistas knew how to rock their hair. An ode to our “Hair”oines…

10. Deliver Us From Eva (2003)

Who could forget Gabrielle Union as mega sourpuss Evangeline “Eva” Dandrige and her silky-maned sisters in this 2003 twist on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”? Some of the movie even takes place in sister Bethany’s hair salon, but the sisters themselves are the “mane” act in this movie.

9. Beauty Shop (2005)

…So, this one isn’t about any particular character’s hair, but most of us can relate to what goes down in a beauty shop, particularly one that is frequented by a bunch of regulars. The gossip. The comedy. The transformations as women come and go from the chair. And Queen Latifah as the shop owner, Gina, is perfect because she always has a radiantly healthy head of hair. Oh yeah, and Bryce Wilson is in it. #WINNING.

8. Set It Off (1996)

Yes, when we think about the movie “Set It Off”, we immediately think of the bond formed out of desperation and loyalty between the four main characters. We also recall Stony and T.T.’s braids, Cleo’s cornrows and Frankie’s short, no nonsense “do”. However, the real scene stealer here was not even one of the main characters, but rather, Cleo’s Hot, coca-cola bottle shaped, blonde cropped girlfriend Ursula (played by Samantha McLachlan). Although she spoke no lines in the film, she had legions of women fantasizing about a date with some clippers and a bottle of peroxide (not to mention some quality time spent in the gym).

7. Sparkle (The Original) 1976

Although the remake was released this summer, we have to give a nod to the original version of Sparkle and the ever changing hairstyles of Lonette McKee, Irene Cara and Dwan Smith.

6. Queen of the Damned (2002)

Aaliyah as Akasha, the long slumbering Egyptian vampire Queen, brought that role to life due in no small part to all her windblown, furiously flowing, raven haired glory. She looked like a creature of nature and a force to be reckoned with. Sadly, the film was completed after Aaliyah’s passing, and although many might say that Queen of the Damned did not live up to its much anticipated hype, it was nice to see Hollywood actually cast a black woman as an Egyptian for a change.

5. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

Tracy Camilla Johns burned up the screen as liberated siren Nola Darling in Spike Lee’s first feature length film “She’s Gotta Have It”. As a black woman trying to navigate the sometimes precarious world of dating and engaging in sexual relationships on her own terms, Nola’s hair seemed to match her personality well — it was a strong and bold look, slightly Amazonian even, for a woman who was a bit revolutionary in her decision to challenge the status quo for the right to enjoy her sexual freedom.

4. Carmen Jones (1954)

Proving once and for all that femme fatales do NOT all have to have rapunzel length tresses, Dorothy Dandridge exudes sex appeal and mayhem in this classic film interpretation of Bizet’s Opera Carmen reimagined with an all Black cast. And she seduces poor Harry Belafonte’s character with her soft and Hot short hair and that quintessential red rose tucked behind her ear — clearly a symbol of her unbridled passion.

3. Poetic Justice (1993)

Janet Jackson set the goddess braids trend ablaze when Poetic Justice came out in 1993. Women everywhere were running straight to the braids shop to emulate this hairstyle, not only because the braids were truly beautiful, but because the character herself had a slightly tough exterior that masked a vulnerable poet’s heart, something that a lot of women out there could relate to.

2. Lady Sings The Blues (1972)

When an icon plays an icon, you know that something magical is about to happen. Diana Ross’ portrayal of the sublimely talented, but deeply troubled and conflicted Billie Holiday earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. It is impossible to imagine either of them without that white gardenia in their hair, as that image is forever ingrained in our psyches channeling the very essence of Lady Day.

1. Coffy, Foxy Brown, … Damned There ANYTHING with Pam Grier

Whether it’s the pressed waves or the curly ‘fro, can Pam Grier look anything but FABULOUS?!!! The original “Brickhouse”, Grier put the “bomb” in bombshell all while toting a gun and kicking major A$$ on the big screen. There’s no question as to why she’s our number one, all time favorite “Hair”oine.

An honorable mention goes to Jada Pinkett Smith’s short, punky shag/hawk style in Jason’s Lyric.

So how did we do? Did we nail the list? Who would have made your top 10?




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