Just in time for Halloween, Justin Simien, the writer and director of the TV series and film "Dear White People," released a new project that has turned the pressures black women face to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards into a satirical horror film . The film, entitled Bad Hair, follows the story of Anna, played by Elle Lorraine, who succumbs to the hair discrimination that black women often face at work and literally gets a braid from hell.
The film is set in 1989 when Anna is pursuing her dream of becoming a VJ on a Black Music Video TV network. However, she finds that her natural curls stand in the way of her aspirations after her manager, a fair-skinned, smooth-haired woman played by Vanessa Williams, encourages her to adopt a whiter look. As a result, she reluctantly gets a tissue that turns out to be possessed by some demonic power. The evil tissue becomes more than just the movie's antagonist: it's a metaphorical symbol for the generations of oppression black women have faced instead of white norms of beauty.
“This young woman is amazing at her job. She has all the tools, ”Lorraine said ahead of the film's release on Hulu on October 23. BLACK COMPANY. "But somehow it can't be seen because it doesn't meet that standard according to other people's ideas of beauty."
The insecure star also admitted that she, too, still feels pressured by the same social stigmas. "There are times when I wonder how to look at an audition when they are able to see beyond my hair, what I'm giving and what work I'm doing."
Actress and LGBTQIA + activist Laverne Cox pointed out that the film highlights the compromise black women had to make on their identities in order to get ahead. "Bad Hair is about the horror of white supremacy that overlaps with the horror of capitalism."
Waithe added, "This is really Justin's love letter – a scary, funny love letter – to black women and what they go through, especially at work."
See Lena Waithe, Elle Lorraine, Laverne Cox, Blair Underwood and Jay Pharoah talk about bad hair in the video below.