Kurlz on Film: A Journey to Acceptance
I’ve been fully natural for about two years. Surprisingly, accepting my 4C hair wasn’t much of a challenge for me other than getting my moisture levels right. Thankfully, I knew my hair texture going into it, and knew I’d need to spend a little extra time to make it acceptable for the world.
On the evening of September 15, 2018, Felicia Leatherwood, hairstylist for Issa Rae, and her team brought together black women of all hair styles and hair types together to screen short films on the topic of Natural hair and have a real conversation on black beauty when it comes to hair.
The conversation, though it could’ve been reduced to texturism and self-pity, focused on acceptance. The audience asked questions and gave testimony on the importance of not only seeing people like yourself on screen, but having a real life support system that is 100% with you on your natural hair journey.
The natural hair journey for a black woman, especially if she is coming from a perm, wigs, or weaves, is a journey of self discovery. Women spend countless hours to what one may see as pampering themselves or doing the necessary tasks to maintain hygiene, but it’s a love language that was stripped from African people as they were brought to America during the Atlantic Slave Trade.
Since the beginning of America, there have been attacks on the power and strength of Black Women, but as Maya Angelou put it — still we rise. Throughout history, black women have embraced natural hair during harsh political times; presenting as rebels while searching for themselves and showcasing the one thing that they have so much control yet absolutely no control over. It’s no surprise the Natural Hair movement surged under the 2016-2020 administration.
Below are the short films screened at Kurls on Film, highlighting both the history, cultural impact, and challenges black women face on their journey to acceptance.