West Coast Premiere
Set in LA, 1989, BAD HAIR centers around Anna Bludso (in an incredible central performance by Elle Lorraine), an executive assistant in the image-obsessed world of music television aspiring to become the next on-air TV personality for Culture. Smarts? Check. Ambition? Check. Opportunity? It hasn’t come a-knockin’ yet despite years of struggling to be recognized for her creativity and hard work.
When an unexpected change of leadership offers Anna the chance to finally ascend the career ladder, she must overcome fears born of literally scarring childhood relaxer perm trauma by trading in her natural look for a weave per her new boss/ex-model Zora’s insistence (Vanessa Williams). The gamble seemingly pays off and soon Anna is enjoying her new position of power and visibility, but it’s not long before she realises success may come at the cost of her sanity… and that her new hair may have a mind of its own.
Combining sizzling satire with 70s/80s-inspired psycho-thriller vibes and sensibilities, Justin Simiens’ latest and greatest crafts something entirely fresh, effortlessly cool, and thoroughly creepy. Through the language of horror, BAD HAIR brilliantly takes no prisoners in its brutal indictment of the inherent violence of the Western gaze that has subjected people of color, and Black women in particular, to ceaseless cultural oppression by its demand for conformity to white beauty standards.
Utilizing a powerhouse of an ensemble cast including Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe, Usher, and Kelly Rowland, Simien renders beauty into the horrific battlefield that it is, where the barriers to success are simultaneously systemic and beyond skin deep. A necessary and welcome addition to the hair horror subgenre (think Sion Sono’s EXTE or Won Shin-yun’s THE WIG), BAD HAIR is an instant cult classic.
Director: Justin Simien
Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre