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Feminist Media Studies





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The representations of a Black woman character’s hair say some- thing about her. The hair of a Black character is never neutral and nuances of hair are noticed by Black woman audience members. In my research interviewing 103 Black women about the representations of Black women in the shows/films they consumed, 12% of the participants discussed the politics of Black women’s hair as a marker of authentic representation. This article analyzes contemporary representations of hair in shows primarily directed/produced by Black women, arguing that representations of Black women’s hair can be empowering to Black women audience members. Hair styles, rituals, and the bonding over hair in shows and films are important. Even if these on-screen hair moments seem fleeting and unimportant, they are significant in that they affirm and celebrate the beauty, the connection, the love between and among Black women and their experiences. This article weaves interview excerpts into an analysis of Black women characters in contemporary film/series, making the argument that when Black women are behind the camera, Black girl’s/women’s hair represents power and pride through natural/ Afrocentric styles and these representations matter to the audience.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Feminist Media Studies on November 27, 2022, available online:

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Monday, May 27, 2024