Unlike most of the natural hair community, I did not run home to watch book turn Netflix movie, Nappily Ever After. Slightly over the stigma, where hair defines the level of beauty a woman has to the person viewing her. And never mind how this ideology plays in the mind when looking in the mirror.
Nappily Ever After, is a familiar story of a “perfect” woman raised by a “perfect” image of parents in a predominately white environment. She grows up with this mentality of having to be “perfect at everything in order to succeed. Venus Johnston is an advertising executive, dating a doctor and has what is perceived to be a nervous breakdown when her expectations of a proposal is met with a puppy at her birthday dinner celebration.
The Netflix movie focuses on the changes that Venus, the character played by Sanai Lathan is going through after her breakup with her boyfriend of four years. The breakup, and a lot of liquor, leads her to cut off all of her hair.
Whether you were preparing for Sunday Church or the school week, weekends were dedicated to the process of shampoo, dry, straighten with a hot comb either all day in a salon or most of the day in your mother’s kitchen. This style had to remain until the process was repeated the following Saturday. Strands that weren’t as coarse, wouldn’t take as long with only one or two passes of that sizzling hot comb or also known as a pressing comb, so close to your skin for someone like me, no matter how many passes my mother would do, those curls (formerly referred to as naps) would just revert back to its original state.
Water anywhere near hot-combed hair was the enemy for years. You’re hot, sit still. Baths were lukewarm. It was only during the summer where there was a little reprieve where not having bone straight hair was ok. Venus and her family attended a community pool where they would look cute by the pool but wouldn’t dare to have fun in the pool. This scene was a memory in a child, now grown woman’s mind when the “perfect” mirror started to crack.
For those that have never cut off all their hair, may think it to be a scary experience, but it really isn’t. Big earrings and excessive makeup is common for those that have no more than a inch of hair on their heads. I went through it as well. In the storyline, it’s the acceptance of who you are minus the perfect persona that you project upon others. Sometimes it takes others around you to point out your most beautiful personality traits that you may have never knew you had in the first place.