The Importance of Netflix's "Nappily Ever After"

The movie Nappily Ever After shares an important message about self-acceptance and self-love - especially for black women when it comes to their hair. Of course hair is an important part of any woman’s appearance, however, for the black woman, hair can be one of the most important things to her because of societal influences and opinions. Black women have hair concerns that other groups will never have to think about. For example, black women have to concern themselves with how people might look at them if they wear their naturally curly or kinky hair because, in some places, it's seen as unprofessional. In fact, in some schools, black students have received punishment for wearing their "distracting" natural hair.

Because of this, black women find ways to treat their hair so it's straight. They avoid water because it can unveil their natural curl patterns. They wear straight wigs and weaves to imitate European beauty standards and to feel better about their appearance. They look down upon afros because society has told them to. Even though this isn’t true for all black women, it’s the story that many black women, including myself, know too well. Even more, it’s the story of Violet, the main character in the movie Nappily Ever After.

Violet's story includes moments where she's forced to get her hair straightened every week, play with Barbie dolls with straight blonde hair, and scenes where she's ordered to stay out of swimming pools because, when her hair was wet, kids would call her a “Chia Pet” - all of which contributed to Violet’s negative opinions about her hair which carried on through her adult life. These scenes are important because it shows how European beauty standards are subtly reinforced through toys, like Barbie dolls, and it shows how many black women can grow up to hate their hair.

However, as Violet’s story continues, she leaves behind everything that made her hate her hair by shaving it all off. She starts fresh and she falls in love with her natural look. Even though she's hesitant at first, Violet accepts this new journey in her life and finds self-acceptance and self-love. It shows viewers the important message that black women can fall in love with their hair despite the negativity they experienced growing up. This also shows the black women who are watching that it's never too late to leave behind what's old and start something new.

Nappily Ever After serves a purpose to inspire and build self-acceptance in black women because we get a lot of criticism about our hair - which makes us think there’s something wrong with it. But this movie assures us there’s nothing wrong and we can live happily and free with our kinks and curls.