Netflix’s Adaptation of ‘Nappily Ever After’ Challenges Beauty Standards

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Long hair, short hair, no hair, body hair — whether you have it or you don’t, hair is an essential part of identity.

In a culture where European features are seen as ideal, microaggressions and internalization of those standards can have a significant impact on the self-perception of black women.

For women of color, especially black women, whose hair can be thicker, curlier, and kinkier than that of other racial groups, there can be a greater social interest in how it looks, feels, and behaves.

Netflix’s upcoming release Nappily Ever After, based on Trisha R. Thomas’ best-selling 2001 book of the same name, stands to challenge those beauty standards and what it means to be perfect.

In a move that reflects the lyrics of Solange Knowles’ “Don’t Touch My Hair,” Violet, the main character of the movie whose “hair was like a second job,” takes full autonomy over her hair and life.

According to the synopsis, “In Nappily Ever After, Violet Jones (Sanaa Lathan) has a seemingly perfect life — a high-powered job, an eligible doctor boyfriend and a meticulously maintained, flawless coiffure. But after a life-changing event doesn’t go according to her plan, and a hair-raising incident at the hairdresser, her life begins to unravel. Eventually, Violet realizes that she was living the life she thought she was supposed to live, not the one she really wanted.”

The movie premieres on the streaming service September 21.