Just in time for Halloween, the horror satire, Bad Hair, is set in New York in 1989 with Hip-Hop and New Jack Swing as the soundtrack. Bad Hair tells the story of the lengths one woman must go through to achieve success in the world of music television. She quickly learns that everything comes with a price. Written and directed by Sundance Award-Winning filmmaker Justin Simien, known for his breakout hit, Dear White People, believes psychological thriller and satire complement one another.
“The best horror films make us laugh one minute, then shriek the next, only to wake up in a cold sweat some nights later, our subconscious through nightmares taunts us with their hidden meanings.”
The film stars Elle Lorraine, Jay Pharaoh, Blair Underwood, Laverne Cox, Vanessa Williams, and Chicago’s own Lena Waithe with appearances by Kelly Rowland, MC Lyte, Usher Raymond, and Robin Theade. The film has an unlikely villain that will make you question your next trip to the hairdresser. A possessed sew in weave takes over aspiring VJ, Anna (Elle Lorraine), as she attempts to fit in at an image-obsessed music television station.
Amid the horror and comedy of Bad Hair is a conversation Black Women have been battling for years; the notion that natural hair isn’t considered acceptable for mainstream and the discrimination Black Women who wear their natural hair in the workplace face on a daily basis.
What Would You Be Willing to Sacrifice for Success?
Anna (Elle Lorraine) is a smart creative with amazing ideas, but she is almost always ignored and passed over by executives. Her new boss, Zora (Vanessa Williams), is impressed by her forward-thinking ideas but strongly suggests getting a sew-in weave to help her “look the part” of an aspiring on-air VJ. Wanting desperately to be given a shot at her on-camera dream job, she boggards her way into an appointment with Weaveologist, Virgie (Laverne Cox). She gleefully picks out her new head of hair and begins dreaming of her ideal life where she is recognized and celebrated for her talents and beauty, but as Virgie begins the sew-in process, she quickly learns the process is painful. Anna doesn’t realize that she has just awakened a bloodthirsty evil force that lives in her weave that begins to take over her body and life. Her sew-in is possessed, and when it takes over, people die. It’s not just Anna, women with sew-ins across the city carrying bloodthirsty weaves on their heads have the same dilemma.
Bad Hair makes some interesting social commentary about beauty standards and the pressures black women feel to live up to them, even if it means denying their natural beauty. It left me thinking, “Thank God, I’m Natural.
When asked why he chose to make the film, Justin Simien said it best. “I have much to say about the hidden costs and quiet personal deaths one feels when trying to live in a world not built with them in mind.”
Bad Hair is currently streaming on Hulu.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.