• 9 Movies to Broaden Your Hair Horizon
  • 9 Movies to Broaden Your Hair Horizon
  • 9 Movies to Broaden Your Hair Horizon
Movie poster for B.A.P.S (1997)

ART+CULTURE: 9 movies to broaden your hair horizon during self-isolation

Words: Katharina Lina


Pelo Malo, 2013

Pelo Malo (transl. Bad Hair) is a Venezuelan drama following nine-year-old Junior as he attempts, through various methods, to straighten his curly hair, creating tension with his recently widowed mother who is afraid of what this interest in grooming could mean about her son’s sexuality. Masculinity, social deprivation, agitated parent and child relationship, and a nation facing uncertainty with the announcement of president Hugo Chávez’s imminent death, are all among the themes that are being explored. For those of you who don’t necessarily want cheerful escapism, and would instead prefer to watch something that amplifies your gloomy feelings in order to properly feel them and then perhaps achieve catharsis, this one could be for you.

Gone Kesh, 2019

Gone Kesh (transl. Hair Gone) follows Enakshi’s life as she suddenly starts to lose hair from her head. We watch the teen’s life being turned upside down as she deals with her alopecia diagnosis and the crushing societal standards of beauty and femininity. The heartwarming message of the importance of the parent-child bond, good friends, and self-love should be enough reason to get over any subtitle reservations you may have.

Good Hair, 2009

After his primary school-aged daughter asked him why she didn’t have ‘good’ hair, Chris Rock decided to go and find out about the significance of hair in black culture. In Good Hair he goes to various barbershops and beauty salons, and at one point travels to India to investigate the number one export of hair. The conversations with interviewees ranging from the great late Maya Angelou, to iconic Salt-N-Pepa, all the way to ex-Disney star Raven-Symoné are so personal and insightful, that even those who aren’t fans of Rock’s comedy style could get something out of this documentary.

My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage, 2010

This documentary also grapples with the complex topic that is black hair, but it looks deeper into the difficult social and political history and asks the harder questions that Rock mitigated with comedy. In fact, My Nappy Roots director Regina Kimbell filed a lawsuit against Rock in 2009, trying to stop the release of Good Hair due to an illegal infringement of My Nappy Roots, which she claims she screened to Chris Rock in 2007. Supporting a fairly unknown female director after her work was so good that it has been – allegedly – stolen? Kind of makes watching it even more attractive if you ask me.

Hair Love, 2019

This Oscar-winning short film will make you want to call your dad and tell him you appreciate him. The audience watches as a little girl unsuccessfully tries to style her hair and becomes increasingly discouraged and upset. Her dad, never having done this before, is scared but rises to the challenge and gives it his all. This heartwarming portrayal of hair in the context of self-confidence and the beauty of father-daughter bonds is a must-watch if you’re looking for something uplifting and wholesome during this time. It’s also less than seven minutes long so just watch it if you haven’t already.

Beauty Shop, 2005

Beauty Shop is a comedy revolving around Gina (Queen Latifah) as she quits her job in a hair salon in order to start her own salon business. The Barbershop franchise spin-off follows Gina’s ups and downs while juggling building her new business, dealing with a jealous, conniving ex-boss, and the typical complications of family life. Combined with a dash of light-hearted comedy and some serious sass, this is a great feel-good movie, especially for those of you who miss being in a bustling salon at this time of self-isolation.

Nappily Ever After, 2018

Based on the novel of the same name by Trisha R. Thomas, this rom-com follows Violet, a young woman with the seemingly perfect life, when suddenly one event after the other leave her devastated and hopeless. We watch as she rebuilds her life and confidence, and also how her hair reflects every state she finds herself in. A feel-good film about navigating life as a modern black woman and the supporting role that hair plays into this identity.

Kbela, 2015

Directed by Yasmin Thayná, this award-winning experimental film explores the experience of black female identity in modern Brazil, using hair as a means to discover an ancestral power that transcends any trivial and exclusive beauty ideals set by European standards. This film has been called both a resistance to the oftentimes invisible oppression of black Brazilian women, and also an ode to their power and diversity.

B.A.P.S, 1997

Despite its below-average ratings in the world of film critics, this movie has nonetheless been called a “Black cult classic” leaving a lasting impact with its audience. Friends Nisi (Halle Berry) and Mickey (Natalie Deselle) are waitresses at a diner in Georgia, but their dream is to open the world’s first soul food diner and hair salon concept space. Of course an unexpected turn of events seems to change this plan drastically, but whatever may happen, we are here for the incredible looks and towering, awe-inspiring updos; which makes me wonder why the film isn’t more widely attributed an iconic status like many similar comedies from this era.