Bad Hair Star Reveals Why Hulu's New Movie Reflects Real Hollywood Experiences For Black Women

Ashley Blaine Featherson in Bad Hair

October is always a good month for horror. And while some projects got delayed until next year, there's still a ton of exciting new content to catch for those spooky feels. Hulu recently released Justin Simien's period piece Bad Hair, which had a new type of horror danger. The movie focuses on a woman in 1989 whose sew-in weave becomes violent. And while the comedy/horror has a ton of laughs in its runtime, the cast believes its themes shows the truth of what it's like as a Black woman working in Hollywood.

Bad Hair comes from acclaimed filmmaker Justin Simien. The new Hulu horror flick reunites Simien with actress Ashley Blaine Featherson who is a series regular on his Netflix show Dear White People. And while in some ways the sew-in weave is the villain of Bad Hair, Featherson explained why working as a Black actress in Hollywood, she actually depends on them. As she put it,

I have a sew-in now. And it’s interesting. It juxtaposes the film because I have a sew-in as a protection for my natural hair. In an industry where I’m constantly getting my hair done and no one knows how to protect my own hair. So it’s a form of protection for me. I am grateful for my sew-in because that’s how I can maintain the integrity of my natural hair. And I think that’s something that a lot of people might not know about black women and what we’re dealing with in the industry.

Throughout the runtime of Bad Hair, various characters share their relationship with their own hair. But the conversation around this personal journey is also one that continues offscreen, especially regarding how Black actors and actresses are treated on set. And for Ashley Blaine Featherson, wearing a sew-in unit helps to protect her hair when so often stylists on set are not familiar with how to treat Black hair.

Ashley Blaine Featherson's comments to Variety show what it's really like to work on TV and film sets, particularly for Black people. Because while hair stylists are hired to help actors on set, they're not always screened to ensure they know how to properly treat Black hair. And as such, some professionals like Featherson have taken matters into their own hands. Justice League star Ray Fisher has been open about needing to bring his own barber to the DC movie's set as well.

In that same conversation, another Bad Hair star shared her own experience with difficulties related to hair stylists. Actress Yaani King plays Sister Soul in the Hulu's horror movie, and also spoke her own truth to power. As King put it,

I almost lost a job because the hair stylist told the director ‘I can’t do anything with that.’ And the director was like ‘Too bad, that’s who you got.’ And then he somehow figured it out and did something with it.

Talk about an unhealthy work environment. Because on top of not having a hair stylist who was prepared to work with her, Yaani King was nearly fired merely for having dreadlocks. This is part of why a project like Bad Hair is so groundbreaking. Because while there are plenty of campy comedic beats and scares, Justin Simien's latest release is sure to start plenty of important conversations on the subject.

Bad Hair clearly has something to say, and Justin Simien brings a lot to the table with the new Hulu movie. The 1989 setting helps to fully immerse the audience, while the filming and editing gave the overall movie a delightfully grainy texture. And as the cast alluded to, the subject matter is something that the cast and crew felt passionately about. And that no doubt aided their performances.

Justin Simien assembled an all-star cast to bring Bad Hair to life. The movie stars Elle Lorraine as its protagonist, and the cast is rounded out by names like Vanessa Williams, Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, Kelly Rowland, Usher, and Nicole Byer. It arrived on streaming just in time for Halloween, which should help bump the viewership.

Bad Hair is currently available to stream on Hulu. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.