Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, Nappily Ever After is the story of an African American woman named Violet; particularly her journey to self love / acceptance through her relationship with the hair that naturally grows out of her head.
Starring Sanaa Lathan, Lynn Whitfield, Ricky Whittle and Lyriq Bent, I watched this one because I too have been on my own journey with my afro hair and wanted to see if Violet’s story reflected mine in any way. The similarities are in regards to my experience of some people’s perception of afro hair. Another similarity is my own fantasies and long term wish for my tightly curled hair to be easier to manage – but without first needing to chemically treat it or actually shave my head.
What I enjoyed most about Nappily Ever After is the self love and acceptance message. A message worth internalising for every human being, regardless of the hair on their head. In fact, it reminded me of one of my favourite quotes of all time by writer / feminist Audre Lorde… ‘If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.’
I think overall, the most memorable moment in the movie will always be the scene where Violet shaves her head and all that it meant for her journey.
I only wish that Nappily Ever After hadn’t been quite so predictable in parts. Nevertheless, I say watch it if you’re curious enough about this particular journey of self love and if you just don’t quite get what the big deal about afro hair may be. This movie doesn’t have all the answers, but it’s certainly a start.
Happy Film Loving