Tracee Ellis Ross and Oprah Winfrey announce TV show about black hair

Black-ish actor Tracee Ellis Ross has announced a new TV show about black hair. The team behind it will all be women of colour.

Ross will executive produce The Hair Tales alongside Oprah Winfrey and Michaela Angela Davis, the co-author of The Meaning of Mariah Carey. The docuseries will connect “intimate and authentic” personal tales of Black women’s experiences and how they are connected to bigger societal and historical themes.

“Like many women, I can trace my own journey to self-acceptance through my hair,” the actor said in a statement. “This series is personal and universal, American and global. It is a love letter to Black women.” Davis added that “there is a story in every curl, coil and kink of our hair. This show will be a dynamic adventure through these stories of ancestry and innovation, politics and pop culture, ritual, resilience and revolution, but [will] mostly reveal humanity. It will affirm Black women, inform others and inspire everyone.”

Ross said that the series would be about how the story of black hair also illuminates a broader narrative around black identity and culture. “Hair is a portal into the souls of Black women, it drives straight to the centre of who we are. Our goal is to share this vibrant community, where we hold a sacred space for each other.”

Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis at the launch of Tracee Ellis Ross’s Pattern Beauty in 2019.
Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis at the launch of Tracee Ellis Ross’s Pattern Beauty in 2019. Photograph: Morgan Lieberman/Getty Images

The series has been announced as the Crown Act (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair), which prohibits discrimination based on hairstyles, has become law in 12 US states. The Hair Tales will also continue Ross’s agenda to celebrate natural hair. In September 2019, she launched the black hair-care line called Pattern Beauty. “The (natural) hair movement might be new for a lot of people, in that it is infiltrating and penetrating all aspects of the beauty industry and beauty culture, and changing people’s understanding of our beauty and our glory, but we have been beautiful and glorious forever,” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2019. “We [must] continue to speak up … to change the understanding that influences policy [like the Crown Act]. Culture influences policy.” It will take a further 38 states to make it law before it becomes a national mandate.

The Hair Tales is expected to debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network and simultaneously on Hulu’s Onyx channel in 2022.


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