Last month, Netflix premiered Sanaa Lathan’s Nappily Ever After — a movie which stars Lathan as the perfect woman with the perfect man, the perfect job and the perfectly straightened hair. That is, until she’s met with a puppy instead of an engagement ring for her birthday. Lathan’s role went viral due to the fact that she shaved her head in real life as well, not just for show.
Lathan recently spoke with Glamour to discuss her latest film and also shared some intimate stories concerning her hair and how it’s made her feel othered, empowered and absolutely beautiful throughout her life.
Despite Lathan’s beauty, her talent and her success, she still struggled to love her hair the way many black women do in a world where eurocentric features are often the only ones seen as beautiful:
"Black women are told all their life that straight, long hair is the epitome of beauty. You see it through images in the media, fairy tales — even my mother had what you'd call silky, more European hair. I remember always wanting that."
Lathan’s character, Violet in Nappily Ever After, dealt with a mother who was strict and only cared about appearances so she forced Violet to continuously straighten her hair because "only then she was perfect." Lathan mentions being lucky to not have a mother who enforced straight hair — on the contrary, Lathan’s mother instilled in her that her hair was beautiful the way it was.
When it came to the role of Violet, Lathan felt connected to the story, according to Glamour. She wanted to honor her character and live that reality to its fullest which is why she committed to shaving her head on camera, IRL. Considering they only had one take for it, Lathan prepped herself prior by practicing on a wig and while it was a little different with her actual hair — the iconic scene was beautiful.
"I didn't do a whole lot of other prep for that scene, because I wanted to let whatever happen happen. But I was shocked by the roller coaster of emotions I felt. The entire 10 minutes felt like a complete out-of-body experience. When I posted a photo of the results later, I couldn't believe the response. I'm pretty sure nearly every ex-boyfriend I’ve ever had contacted me, asking if they could come rub my head. I definitely didn't expect it to be a turn-on," said the actress.
The film unfolds into many plot twists and crazy turns with some beautiful moments in between featuring Lathan, her love interest and his daughter Zoe, who is played by Daria Johns (who is phenomenal). If you haven’t seen it yet, this weekend would be perfect to stay in, order food and enjoy Nappily Ever After on Netflix.
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