My name is Evelyne Adeyinka and I am in my last year of the Audio Visual Media study at the Utrecht School of the Arts. In the past 4 years I have been trained as a film maker and now the time has finally come: I have to graduate and that means that I am going to make a documentary.
In the past two years it has occurred to me more than once to make a documentary about frizzy hair and the entire culture around it. I thought it would be fun to give the people who don't know anything about frizzy hair a look at our way of doing things. Still, I didn't dare give in to it completely. I knew inside that my story would really have to be about the fact that many people with frizzy hair, including me, don't dare to show it. This got a bit too personal for me so I thought, never mind. For a month and a half I searched hard for another fun and not personal topic but without success, frizzy hair kept floating through my head. In the end I really had to come to my teacher with a topic and this is how our conversation went:
“24 years ago I was born with a big bush of frizzy hair on my head that has been bothering me for as long as I can remember. My sisters and I went to a 'white' primary school and were very jealous of our classmates whose hair was so soft, so straight and so beautiful in the wind. With our curly hair, we never had that problem.”
My teacher laughed, “are you serious, I was never aware of that!” That makes sense if you don't know people with frizzy hair, I let her know and continued with my story: “I was bummed like a plug and the fact that my (Dutch) mother had incredibly beautiful curls did not make me feel better. Why didn't I just inherit those genes? In addition, she had no idea how to deal with the wild frizzy hair of her children and my (Nigerian) father certainly not! It was exactly the same with my half-sisters Coco and Veralyn. Their mother also had no idea how to take care of her. Whether it's because we were never taught how to deal with our hair or whether it's deeper, I don't know but our hair has always been an issue! An eternal struggle against what it really is: frizzy.”
“But that frizzy thing is so nice, when you pull on it, it bounces back so nice.” my teacher tried to convince me. “Yes it's nice to put it on, but it's not nice to have to forcibly comb out those eternal tangles! A while back my sister was a little sad. She had taken out her weave but had no money to put in a new one, so she had to walk around the street with her frizzy hair. She felt ugly and thought she looked like a boy. All I saw was that my beautiful sister looked fantastic even though I understood very well how she felt.
It became very clear to me for the first time what we were doing: actually pretending to be different from who we really are, because we are ashamed of something that does not correspond to the Western ideal of beauty.”
Because I wasn't really behind this topic myself, I had also put a few other ideas on paper. But because my teacher got so excited about the frizzy hair story, she let those ideas go. "Evelyne, this is super interesting, I can totally see you doing each other's hair!" Does it really have to get so personal that I have to put myself in the spotlight? Like: Hello everyone! I have frizzy hair and since I don't like myself with my natural hair, I straighten it! Then I make myself quite vulnerable, as a filmmaker.
The aim of the story will then be that we should all be satisfied and above all be able to be satisfied with our natural frizzy hair. I know I would like to but can I?
I can at least try making it a quest for love for my natural hair. If we all find the love for our natural hair again, maybe we can break that usual habit of hiding ourselves. And what could be better than being completely yourself!
My teacher is right, I can make something fun out of this that can also be of use to other people. After our conversation she called after me: “And then you have to let your hair frizz again at the end of the documentary, great process for your graduation!” Well... if only it were that easy...
With this blog I want to keep you regularly informed about the making process of my documentary. Tips and tricks are always welcome!