It’s a story of courage, of battling against the odds. A story of brave women who stood up for their beliefs, despite society’s pressure to silence them. It’s a story of 10 black women who stopped straightening their hair.
Nappy, a short film by Lydia Douglas on the politics of black hair, won an honorable mention in the 1998 Rosebud competition. Now the filmmaker is looking for ways to spread the gospel of kinky hair outside of Chocolate City and the university circuit.
“I have about three or four target goals to feel like I’ve done everything I wanted to do with this film,” says Douglas, an alumna of Howard University’s graduate film program. “The next thing would be to take it to women in prisons and shelters, women who otherwise wouldn’t see the film.”
But she needs money to spread her word. So Douglas is organizing a fund-raising reception and film screening at Lammas Women’s Bookstore to coincide with the Black Gay Pride celebration this weekend. In addition to selling copies of the film, she’ll be selling photographs of the women it features. The proceeds will go toward producing copies of the video to be distributed to women’s programs, as well as toward making the kind of high-quality film print required by large-scale film festivals.
She showed the film last March at the New Endeavors for Women shelter in Washington; the experience inspired her to continue doing outreach. “The thing that was the most helpful for them was seeing me…not just the film, but just [seeing] a woman who’s taking care of business and living her dream. For them, just to be able to talk to me really gave them a boost.”Holly Bass
Screening and reception for Nappy will be Saturday, May 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Lammas Women’s Bookstore, 1607 17th St NW. $10.