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Must-Watch Documentaries About Black Hair

Documentaries about Black hair delve into the rich and diverse history, cultural significance, and personal stories surrounding the unique and beautiful ways Black individuals express themselves through their hair.

African-American hair often has a kinky hairy texture, appearing tightly coiled and packed. African-American hair has a complex history, culture, and cultural impact, including its relationship with racism. 

What is the story behind Black hair?

The story behind Black Hair is rich and diverse, reflecting centuries of history, culture, and identity. Black hair has been a symbol of pride, resistance, and self-expression for people of African descent. Throughout history, Black hair has faced discrimination and bias, leading to societal standards that often favor Eurocentric beauty ideals.

Black hair comes in a variety of textures, from tightly coiled to wavy, offering unique styling options. Braids, twists, locs, afros, and other hairstyles are not just fashion choices but also hold cultural significance. They showcase a connection to African roots, spirituality, and community.

Today, the Black Hair movement continues to challenge beauty norms and empower individuals to embrace their natural hair. It’s a celebration of diversity, resilience, and reclaiming one’s identity.

What is the documentary about Black people’s hair?

If you’ve ever asked this question, I have the answer!

Documentaries About Black Hair

Crown

CBS Sports Network premiered its original documentary CROWN, which explores the nation’s complicated relationship with Black hair through the prism of competitive athletics. 

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Hair Tales

The Hair Tales is a new docuseries about Black women, beauty and identity through the distinctive lens of Black hair. From executive producers Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis, “The Hair Tales” will lead the audience through a revelatory journey of connecting the personal tales of phenomenal Black women to broader societal and historic themes.

The stories shared in the series offer an honest and layered look into the complex culture of Black hair and ultimately Black women’s identity, creativity, and contributions to society. They are featuring stories from Oprah Winfrey, Issa Rae, Chlöe Bailey, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Marsai Martin, and Chika. | Stream on Hulu

Good Hair
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chris Rock (Actor)

Good Hair

Four-time Primetime Emmy-winning actor and comedian Chris Rock takes you on a hilariously hair-raising journey through the extreme lengths African-American women will go to for Good Hair.

Pelo Malo
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Samuel Lange Zambrano, Samantha Castillo, Beto Benites (Actors)

Pelo Malo / Bad Hair (2013)

A nine-year-old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother.

Hair That Moves
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Millicent Makhado Mothiba, Mokkie Tebeila (Actors)

Hair That Moves

Upon entering a singing competition, a young ten-year old girl tries all she can to get her short, stiff afro to wave in the wind like her favourite Popstar’s.

Bad Hair (2020)

In the late 1970s, a young Anna attempts to relax her hair with the help of her older cousin Linda. Her hair has a bad reaction to the cream and leaves a permanent scar on the back of her head.

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Nappily Ever After

When a perfectionist and exec experiences a romantic setback, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery that begins with a dramatic hair makeover.

Self Made: Inspired by The Life of Madam C.J. Walker

This limited series chronicles the incredible true story of Madam C.J. Walker, the first African-American self-made millionaire. (Stream on Netflix)

Sarah suffered severe dandruff and other scalp ailments, including baldness, due to skin disorders and the application of harsh products to cleanse hair and wash clothes. Other contributing factors to her hair loss included poor diet, illnesses, and infrequent bathing and hair washing during a time when most Americans lacked indoor plumbing, central heating, and electricity.

Sarah learned about hair care from her brothers, who were barbers.

Annie Turnbo

While out of school, Turnbo grew so fascinated with hair and hair care that she often practiced hairdressing with her sister. With expertise in chemistry and hair care, Turnbo began developing her own hair-care products. At the time, many women used goose fat, heavy oils, soap, or bacon grease to straighten their curls, which damaged both scalp and hair.

While experimenting with hair and different hair-care products, she developed and manufactured her own line of non-damaging hair straighteners, special oils, and hair-stimulant products for African-American women.

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My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage

The film explores the politics and history of African-American hair and how the European ideal of beauty influenced black hair through modern history. It details the political and cultural influences that have dominated dialogue surrounding African and African American hairstyles from styling patterns and cultural trends to the business of the black hair care industry.

No Lye: An American Beauty Story
  • John H. Johnson, George E. Johnson, Robert L. Johnson (Actors)
  • Bayer Mack (Director)

No Lye: An American Beauty Story

2019 documentary film that chronicles the rise and decline of the black-owned ethnic beauty industry in America.

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The ethnic beauty industry began with the African-American desire for hair straighteners and skin lighteners in the Reconstruction era after slavery. By the late 1960s, the sale of black health and beauty aids had evolved into a multi-million dollar business that was heavily influenced by the civil rights movement.

A decade later, innovative hairstyles and cosmetic products transformed the market into a billion-dollar industry and African-American beauty manufacturers began facing hostile competition from large non-black corporations. No Lye: An American Beauty Story details the fight to control the industry and looks at the impact of popular culture on ethnic beauty standards in America.

Hair Power: Me and My Afro
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Emma Dabiri, Jade Holman-Travis (Actors)

Hair Power: Me and My Afro

Hair Power: Me and My Afro is a documentary film that explores the rich history and significance of Afro-textured hair within the Black community. The film is part of a series of special commissions for Channel 4’s Black History Month. It is directed by Nicole Charles and features historian Emma Dabiri as the host. 
 
In Hair Power: Me and My Afro, Emma Dabiri engages in conversations with both men and women, delving into their personal hair journeys and experiences. The documentary aims to challenge stereotypes, debunk taboos, and highlight the extraordinary history behind Afro-textured hair.
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