High-Rise Avenue Presents
Suitable for ages 15 years+
Story by Sandra Thompson-Quartey and Kalungi Ssebandeke
Script by Kalungi Ssebandeke
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Brianna has been offered a promotion at work and is due to marry the man of her dreams. Life is looking good. While attending an Afro/Caribbean natural hair exhibition, Briana starts to question her perception of beauty and how she views her type 4 hair, which she has kept hidden. When Brianna makes the decision to 'free the fro' her promotion hangs in the balance and the ignored cracks in her relationship begin to widen.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on her hair, is it really that deep?
Kalungi Ssebandeke’s original short play, A View of Her Own Beauty, was directed by Artistic Director of High-Rise Avenue, Sandra Thompson-Quartey, in 2015 at Bush Theatre as part of Black Lives, Black Words (Artistic Directors of the Future) and at the Bussey Building as part of the Melanin Box Festival. The play inspired the Artistic Director to commission a play on the nuances of black women and their hair choices and is currently being developed through a research and development process, with the intention of production in 2022.
The story will question the policing of black women’s hair, the Eurocentric beauty ideal pushed within our society, and the impact it has on the black community. The play will shine a light on discrimination and pressure faced by black women in regard to their hair, the varying perspectives within the black community, and the multifaceted stories behind different black hairstyle choices. High-Rise Avenue wishes to tell a compelling story influenced by a range of real experiences and to produce a play that acts as a forum for debate and reflection.
The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Research: Schools and Workplaces
In 2016 the BBC reported that a Black lady who showed up to work with cornrows was told by her employer to "wear a weave at work" - your afro hair is unprofessional" asked wen her hair would return to 'normal’ READ THE ARTICLE
In the UK, February 2020 Ruby Williams, a Mixed Race child. was sent home from school multiple times because her afro was deemed inappropriate READ THE ARTICLE
In South Africa, Black students protested over the code of conduct at Pretoria High which policed how they wear their hair and due to comments from teachers READ THE ARTICLE
In America, a Mixed Race wrestler had his dreadlocks cut during a match READ THE ARTICLE
This Morning’s Phillip Scofield and Holly Willoughby interviewed a Mixed Race boy banned from school in London for his hair. WATCH VIDEO