Nappily Ever After

Happy Black History Month! This is a really important month to step back and reflect on the racial problems that the US has gone through and caused. Often in our fight for rights, we forget about the most obvious groups. Just because we have made progress, doesn’t mean that the fight is over.

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With that being said, I recently watched a movie on Netflix called Nappily Ever After that addresses some of the modern issues that black women face in the US. The movie is about the main character, Violet, and her journey to love herself the way she is and deal with the need to feel “perfect”.

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At the beginning of the movie, you see Violet waking up earlier than her boyfriend so she can do her hair and make herself look good for him to wake up to. She maintains this aura of perfection so that there is virtually nothing that people can find fault with. But after she breaks up with her boyfriend and her hair gets messed up, she breaks down and shaves it all off. This forces her to focus more on herself and stop obsessing over the way she looks. In the end, she realizes that she can be unapologetically herself and though it is a risk, it makes like much more worth living.

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The movie touches on the toxic nature of female culture in the US and the intrinsic need to look a certain way while also being flawless. Though it is difficult for women altogether, it is especially difficult for black women because they don’t meet the “traditional” beauty standards invented by the media. The media favors thin white women and many of the sttributions they have (straight hair, light skin, etc.); that descrption doesn’t fit the natural beauty of the black population and can be very detrimental to their self-esteem.

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While toxic environments like this exist, it is important to see statements in popular media geared more towards black women and their beauty. Beauty is a fluent concept and is not specific to one race and their attributes. I highly recommend watching this in the month of February! Not only is it entertaining, but it makes a statement and that’s the best kind of media.