Kelly Rowland, Vanessa Williams, and Usher are just some of the all-star cast starring in Bad Hair, a satirical horror film set in the 80s which tackles society’s obsession with Black hair and Black culture, coming to UK cinemas later this autumn.

Bad Hair
Bad Hair still: Sistah Soul (Yaani King Mondschein), Anna (Elle Lorraine) and Brook-Lynne (Lena Waithe), shown. (Photo by: Tobin Yellan/Hulu)

Bad Hair received its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and is written and directed by Justin Simien, whose 2014 directorial debut Dear White People also received critical acclaim.

The storyline centres around an ambitious young woman (Elle Lorraine) who gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career comes at great cost when she realises that her new hair may have a mind of its own.

In an interview with Variety earlier this year, Simien discussed his intentions with the film’s storyline. He said: “I made this movie with one group in mind — Black women,” he said, and “the system that marginalizes and oppresses Black women.”

The relevance of the film cannot be underestimated. Black women’s relationship with good hair and bad hair runs deep. One of the film’s cast, superstar and one third of Destiny’s Child, Kelly Rowland admitted that she wore her natural hair out for the very first time earlier this year! While discussing Bad Hair, she told Variety: “Just last week, last Sunday — I’m not even joking… It was the first time I wore my natural hair out. I actually, like, enjoyed my ringlets.”

“I wanted to make us something about the system that sort of gives people just one or two choices in order to move ahead.”

The director says the film is not about bashing weave wearers but touches on how society is structured and the systems we must navigate in order to triumph. Simien said: “I didn’t really want to moralize getting a weave or not.”

“I wanted to make us something about the system that sort of gives people just one or two choices in order to move ahead. I wanted to take that system to task and I just, I thought it’d be a really fun way to do that.”

In addition to Elle Lorraine’s breakout leading role, the impressive ensemble cast includes Vanessa Williams (Soul Food), Lena Waithe (director of Queen & Slim), Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black), Jay Pharoah (Unsane, Saturday Night Live), Kelly Rowland, Blair Underwood (Set It Off), and Usher.

Clare Binns, Joint Managing Director of Picturehouse said: “We all need a smart, genre-busting horror film and this one gets it spot on. With a super-cool cast and directed by the immensely talented Justin Simien, it felt a perfect fit for Picturehouse Entertainment.”


Editor’s note (16 October 2020):

Bad Hair release has been postponed for the foreseeable future due to recent and very sudden cinema closures.

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