When Sanaa Lathan signed on to do Netflix’s Nappily Ever After, the beloved actress planned on wearing a prosthetic cap to capture the memorable scene where she shaves her head.
However, Sanaa decided to conquer her crown and undergo the transformation just like her character. The scene was captured in one take, but she underwent an array of emotions.
“I had a lot of hair, it was long. Many years of growing it. I was like ‘I’m an actress, I don’t have to do this.’ The technology they have today, it looks really natural. But the more I delved into the story and character, ‘I was like I would be doing this character and this story and what this means in this culture and our world a disservice if I do not shave my head,’” she revealed in a candid sit-down with the editors of HelloBeautiful and MadameNoire.
Like many Black women, Sanaa’s hair was her crowning glory, similar to her character Violet Jones, who finds herself at a crossroads in the film adaption of the best-selling Nappily Ever After novel by Trisha R. Thomas. But at the end of it, Sanaa felt liberated.
In the candid conversation, Sanaa discussed the issues Black women face around their hair while the HB, MN editors revealed their own respective hair journeys. The emotional conversation moved Sanaa to tears as she realized the profound damage society’s current beauty standards has done to little Black girls, who rarely get to see images of their hair in mainstream media.
Sanaa is challenging herself to embrace her natural hair even at times when she wants to rock a weave.