“Bad Hair” is a new horror-comedy written, produced and directed by Justin Simien (“Dear White People”). The film is set in 1989 Los Angeles in the world of a music video television network.
It stars Elle Lorraine (“Insecure”) as Anna, an assistant at “Culture” who is trying to move into an on-camera spot. At the suggestion of her new boss, Anna gets a killer new weave, that has a mind of its own.
Blair Underwood also stars in the film as Anna’s Uncle Amos Bludso. He’s a constant supportive presence in Anna’s life, and someone she turns too as she unravels the mystery with her hair. EURweb correspondent Jill Munroe talked with Blair and the other male lead in the film, Jay Pharaoh, about men and their relationship with hair, plus changing yourself to get ahead.
Jill: Do Black men have the same experiences with hair as women?
Blair: No, you know better than that. We like to present ourselves well. We like to be dressed when we can, color coordinated when we can. Got to get the hair sliced up. Get the fade going. But it’s on a different level. I have a mother and I have two sisters, and I have a wife and a daughter now. It’s on a different level in terms of the time and certainly the money… that’s why I thought this project – created by Justin Simien who wrote, directed and produced this – I really thought this was brilliant and a stroke of genius, to put this story – which is all about a weave that’s possessing people. A hair possession story or tale, which is a Japanese and Korean genre of horror – I’ve never seen that in American cinema. So, to deal with an aspect of hair possession, in Black culture, knowing what our hair means to us – and our protagonist (Anna) played by Elle Lorraine – to put that in the walk and lived experience of a Black woman, I thought that was genius.
Jill: There are very many layers that we go through in this film. For Anna, she changed to get into the room. In your opinion, is there ever a time to conform to get the opportunity to step into the room?
Blair: If you’re asking me, absolutely. I think compromise is important. It depends on how far you want to get ahead. But as you compromise, you don’t lose sight of yourself. You can’t lose sight of your integrity and where you’re going inside of yourself. If you have a six-foot afro, and your boss says, “that’s cool, I need you to cut it down to a half an inch. If that’s going to allow you to pay your bills, handle your business and take care of your kids. Take care of yourself and put a roof over your head, than do that. The fact that you want your hair six inches long, a year down the road when you’re the manager or CEO, you can wear your hair how you want. It’s important to understand that compromise doesn’t mean losing yourself or giving up. It means, you may have to take that punch for the team.
Jay Pharaoh gave a huge spoiler about who dies in the film. Watch his interview below with caution! 🙂
“Bad Hair” also stars Jay Pharaoh, Lena Waithe, Kelly Rowland, Laverne Cox, Chanté Adams, James Van Der Beek, Usher Raymond IV, and Vanessa Williams.
It arrives on Hulu October 23, just in time for Halloween.