Abiola Abrams in Harlem, Natural Hair

“In Our Heads” Black Hair Documentary: Filmmaker Talks Misconceptions (EXCLUSIVE)

“In Our Heads About Our Head:” I’m featured in a new film about black women and hair! (Video below.)

Hey Rockstars,

I am really excited and proud to announce the documentary film “In Our Heads About Our Hair.” The film was shot and directed by Hemamset Angaza. I know the director’s accomplished co-producer, Maitefa Angaza from the independent film community. In fact, she gave me an award that I proudly display for shooting my documentary “Knives in My Throat,” about a young, black woman dealing with bipolar disorder.

Hemamset and Maitefa came to my home to interview me. They were accompanied by co-producer and natural hair guru Anu Prestonia of Khamit Kinks. I had met Anu previously at “A Great Day in Brooklyn” shoot where I interviewed actor Malik Yoba, amongst others.

The “In Our Heads” team wanted to include me in the film as a woman who wears both natural hairstyles, weaves, braids, flat iron, curls and the whole gamut.   Anu joked that I am like “The Undercover Sister” because I get to hear the nasty things that women say about each other based on hair when they assume that I am a member of their personal “hair club,” whether weaved or natural.

It was great to participate in the film and I can’t wait to see it. “In Our Heads” screened today at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as a part of the “New Voices in Black Cinema” series.

There’s a great deal of conversation that has sprung up on sites such as The Huffington Post and Madame Noire about the film. The filmmakers were concerned that most people talking about “In Our Heads” haven’t seen it! I invited my filmmaker sister Maitefa to clear up some of the misconceptions and assumptions that people are making about her movie.

Abiola's Signature

“In Our Heads About Our Hair” Is/Isn’t by Maitefa Angaza

“In Our Heads” Common Misconception #1

This film is antagonistic toward women who perm their hair, or who wear weaves or wigs.

We include a diversity of viewpoints from women who wear their hair in a variety of ways. “In Our Heads About Our Hair” is not purely objective; it seeks to inspire Black women to celebrate their natural beauty. As such, it addresses self-esteem, cultural reference, historical and institutional racism and prevailing messages and images in media and entertainment. Several of the women interviewed choose not to wear natural hair styles; some wear them when the mood strikes. They all speak about their choices and experiences and about the significance (if any) they attach to the overall issue of Black women and hair.

“In Our Heads” Common Misconception #2

This film was made by a man.

Although Hemamset Angaza, a talented young man, directed “In Our Heads About Our Hair,” the film is the result of his collaboration with three women. Anu Prestonia, who conceived the film, is the founder of Khamit Kinks natural haircare salon and a respected industry pioneer. She brought in friends Paulette Maat Kesa Tabb (an educator) and Maitefa Angaza (a journalist) as co-producers. Together they selected most of the interview subjects and worked as crew with the director on location. Hemamset, who also shot and edited the film, provided vision and expertise, determining the look, feel and structure. All four filmmakers conducted interviews throughout the production.

“In Our Heads” Common Misconception #3

Our film fails to include historical or psychological factors.

Not true. We’ve interviewed a historian, psychologist, political scientist, journalist, environmental activist and others to get the broadest possible picture. Context is important in determining how we’ve arrived at our perspectives ad preferences. This is not an exhaustive overview, but a documentary driven by personal stories. We found that most women, however they wear their hair, are interested in what their sisters are thinking and feeling.

“In Our Heads” Common Misconception #4

The black women’s hair conversation doesn’t matter.
Maybe not to everyone, but it surely matters to many. How we wear our hair, is, of course, about personal choice. But to pretend this choice exists in a vacuum ignores historical, cultural and even economic factors. It also discounts the influence of family and friends, media and style. If we’re asked to examine our diets, relationships and spending; we can also consider the roots of our ideas about beauty. Children are also affected by the level of healthy self-esteem in their environments.

“In Our Heads” Common Misconception #5

That “In Our Heads” started filming after Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” was released.

“In Our Heads About Our Hair” began filming in the Spring of 2009; “Good Hair” was released that September. We saw the same trailers everyone else did and we were eager to see the film. However, we felt that our film would take a different approach and, to some degree, cover other terrain.

 

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Comments

  1. Ace

    I saw you in the trailer. I can’t wait to see the film.

  2. Anonymous

    This looks good – thanks for leettig us know Abiola

  3. Anu

    That’s what I love about my co-producer Maitefa Angaza.  She is an astute writer, journalist, editor and a person with a balanced perspective on almost any topic.  She nailed each point with precision.  Thanks Abiola for asking and Thanks Mai for setting the record straight.

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