Nappily Ever After is a Netflix original movie, based on a novel by Trisha R. Thomas, that focuses on one African American woman’s love-hate relationship with her hair. It’s a story that many black women can relate to from a young age. But it’s also a story of empowerment. The realization of a black woman that her mind is her crowning glory, not her hair.
Violet Jones, a beautiful and successful marketing executive, grew up learning that perfection was everything. Her hair had to be flat ironed straight and God forbid, she tried to swim or have any fun whatsoever. She described being “proper” as something every black mother obsessed over.
True to word, she became a drop dead gorgeous woman. She flourished in the love department dating every girl’s dream guy. Her mother could not be more proud of her perfect little girl. On the other hand, she slowly lost her mind trying to maintain her perfect image. She also hated the rain as it would ruin her hair.
All of this blew up on her birthday when she got the surprise of her life but not the one she expected. First of all, her birthday glam backfired. The hairdresser accidentally used a relaxer and caused her hair to fall off. Her long-time boyfriend bought her a dog instead of proposing to her. This made her go into a rage, kicking him out and ending the relationship.
What followed next was Violet’s quest to find herself outside of her perfect hair and beauty standards imposed on women, in general. She went through an array of looks until one day she ran into her ex with another woman. This was her breaking point.
Nappliy Ever After portrayed black women’s struggle with their hair in a very real way which made the movie more relatable. It took us through the emotional stages of transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. Sanaa Lathan gave a captivating performance in the movie. However, she doesn’t have much chemistry with the men in the film especially Will who, supposedly, mad her fall in love with her natural hair. There was no passion in their romance which failed to convince me that she, indeed, felt beautiful. He came off as chauvinistic and controlling, more than gentle and loving.
Though Nappily Ever After is about black women’s natural hair, it seemed extremely anti-relaxing which defeats the point of loving your hair in whichever state it is in. The real star of the show was Will’s daughter, Zoe, who embodied the meaning of self-love.
It was a great movie, in general, with a wonderful cast. Hopefully, there will be a second part to show us what happens in Violet’s life and if she succeeds in marketing more natural and real women. Nappily Ever After was also a very relevant movie in today’s society where more women are embracing their natural hair and there’s a shift from the typical standard of beauty. You should add this one to your movie list. Watch the trailer.