asymmetrical bobs are just part of the horror of ‘Bad Hair’
Two years ago, after reading the script for her next movie project set in 1989 Los Angeles, Nikki Wright began combing through old Black fashion magazines, looked at cosmetics ads and watched music videos from the New Jack Swing era on repeat. She thought about how to replicate the narrow beauty standards African American women felt pressured to live up to at the time, a major theme of the movie. None of this prep was unusual for the veteran hairstylist.To get more news about wig shop, you can visit monahair.com official website.
But this wasn’t just any movie. It was Wright’s most high-profile gig to date: bringing a killer weave to life in “Bad Hair,” the high-minded, low-budget horror-comedy on Hulu. Every bit of cultural minutiae had to be correct, even when that meant re-creating old-fashioned hair techniques that, it turned out, were flawed.
“I wanted you to feel like you were really in the time period,” said writer-director Justin Simien, whose new movie transforms the experience of getting your first weave into a creepy allegory of cultural assimilation. “I didn’t want the film to feel like ‘2020 in 1989 drag.’”
His commitment to authenticity meant that the foundation for the hair weaves were done the old-school way, by braiding the hair in a ring-shaped pattern atop the client’s head (a big no-no nowadays), before sewing in the tracks, as Laverne Cox’s luxury stylist does in the movie. “It’s funny, looking back,” Wright said. “We were writing the book on that style and in doing it we realized braiding the hair in a circle wasn’t what we should’ve been doing. When the hair grows out, it looks like a lampshade.”
In “Bad Hair,” which sparked a bidding war after premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, long silky strands of hair creep out of place in meetings, and whole swaths of it slither around corners, climb walls and sprout out of heads like demonic tendrils to snatch and slay human victims, then feed on their blood. The weaves, it turns out, are evil and take over the women wearing them, like Anna (Elle Lorraine), a meek executive assistant at the Black music TV network Cult.
Wright, who headed the production’s hair department, envisioned Anna as an average Compton girl who has what it takes to realize her dream of becoming an on-air host, apart from the right look. Early in the movie, she wears her natural hair in a modern curly style, pulled back in an Afro puff. The problem is that rather basic style just won’t cut it anymore at Cult, whose new boss (Vanessa Williams) wears her hair in a deluxe weave and is hungry for content that will cater to a “whiter — er, wider — demographic.” She suggests Anna get with the program.
“It was believed that European features were the key to success and made you acceptable in the workplace,” said Kellie Robinson, the film’s makeup head. It was important to Robinson that the cosmetics in the movie reflected the choices women of color had in the ’80s, when they were confined to three foundations: light, medium or dark. “Clearly, we have a blend of many colors and undertones,” said Robinson, who applied her base colors and foundation on the cast so that they wouldn’t match. She added: “The colors were off in the ’80s.”