A Not So Nappy Ending

Listen up, this fairytale isn’t all rainbows and magic, we’re gonna need to talk about this one.

Yep that's right folks, another film that links black women’s hair to their identity.

We love a movie about a woman empowering herself against adversity. "Nappily Ever After Is" a cute movie that could have tackled many relevant topics had it not been diluted by the romantic plot and the distracting overly dramatic scenes. 

not so happily ever aftervia GIPHY

We don't love overused tropes and cliches. Yes, many can relate to the story line presented in “Nappily Ever After” but it is an all too familiar narrative. Similar narratives of black women, hair, corporate America and relationships are found in “Scandal”, “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Being Mary Jane”.

The main character Violet breaks up with her beautifully chiseled foreign doctor boyfriend, everything she thought she ever wanted. In a scene where she overshares to her driver about how her ex hurt her feelings the driver responds, “I mean he didn’t cheat on you? He didn’t hit you or nothin like that?,” as if that is the only way a relationship can go wrong. As she begins to fall for a humble and down to earth guy we see Violet become more comfortable and liberated. Sounds familiar right? We’ve seen it in, “Why Did I Get Married”, “Clueless” and many more films. 

Not so nappily ever after

via GIPHY

In the film you follow the main character Violet on a journey to self love and discovery. Her hair serves as a metaphor of her grieving process for who she thought she was as a person. Shaving off all your hair isn't always a sign of emotional distress and dying your hair isn't always a cry for help (there may be some truth in this one). Everyone enjoys and can relate to the confidence boost that a new hairstyle or look gives such as her blonde wig.

The movie addresses that hair is a choice for women and that it is JUST hair yet one of her love interests, Will, makes the comment that, “What brothers want is a woman who’s real.” There are so many things wrong with this quote that i'm shocked they included it in the film, and it went unquestioned. This perpetuates the same destructive notion Violet’s mother instilled in her, the idea that she is her hair. Women are taught to hold so much of our self worth and esteem lays in our hair, and what brothers want shouldn't even be a part of the conversation.

Not so happily ever after

via GIPHY

However credit is due for addressing important societal issues such as women in corporate America, representation and the societal pressure that women face. The presentation of the fact that black women have to work harder just to be on the same playing fields as white people. The still prevalent pressure instilled in women to be perfect to attract a husband. How a lack a of representation and Eurocentric standards impacts women. The lasting effects of parents and society on natural hair.

This rom-com is supposed to be Violet falling in love with herself yet we never really see her personality shine through. Had the movie focused more on her intrapersonal journey rather than how people, especially men, view her I feel as though the movie would have conveyed its sought after purpose.