High-Rise Avenue Presents
GOOD HAIR / BAD HAIR
Story by Sandra Thompson-Quartey and Kalungi Ssebandeke
Script by Kalungi Ssebandeke
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Briana 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 4C hair. When Briana makes the decision to 'free the fro' her promotion hangs in the balance and the 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 is being developed into a full production.
In the context of this play, Hair Police, refers to people (of all races) who tell black women and men how they should wear their hair, attempt to dictate what hair is acceptable and pressure them to either relax it, wear wigs, weaves or wear it natural. The term is taken from the phrase, Natural Hair Police, which refers to black people who scold, shame and pressure black women into growing out and only wearing their natural hair.
The story will question the policing of black women’s hair, the western beauty ideal pushed on society and the impact it has on the black community. The play will shine a light on discrimination, the varying opinions 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.