Sanaa Lathan is rocking a new look for her new movie, and it looks pretty powerful. In the Nappily Ever After trailer Sanaa Lathan shaves her head bald in what looks like one of the film's most powerful moments. The movie stars Lathan as Violet Jones, a corporate professional who appears to have it all together in both her professional and romantic life, until everything comes crashing down. Adapted from Trisha R. Thomas' bestselling book of the same name and premiering September 21 on Netflix, according to People, Nappily Ever After looks like an emotional gut punch read to take audiences by storm.
“I’ve worked so hard to be perfect. And it still wasn’t enough," Violet says in the trailer. "Ever since I was a kid, my hair was everything. I had to be fixed. Only then was I perfect.” The snippet showcases Violet's relentless quest for perfection, something put on display as she awakens before her boyfriend in order to fix herself up before he opens his eyes in the morning. Despite Violet's attempt to remain flawless, things change drastically when she loses both her job and gets dumped by her boyfriend. In a moment of clarity, she is reminded by a young child at her beauty salon that she could “sponsor like six kids” with the amount of money she spends on her hair. The emotional turn of events prompts Violet to impulsively shave her head as a way to rediscover who she is when not being defined by her hair.
Despite having a moment of major remorse when she wakes up the following morning and letting out a chilling scream after realizing what she's done, it appears that the resulting look will change Violet's life in ways she never knew possible. As the trailer teases, getting rid of her long hair lets her let go of that security blanket and truly learn who she is, without trying to be perfect all of the time.
Lathan shared her real-life metamorphosis on Instagram last September, debuting the bald cut in a video where she commented, “I feel so light, I could fly away.” This past August she took to social media to show off a myriad of hairstyles that she donned for the film, which ranged from wavy long hair to a blonde-dyed layer cut, that later morphed into the eventual big chop.
The big chop is a transition that many women undergo in order to rid themselves of chemically-processed hair and return their locks to their natural state. It has become a popular practice, notably for people of color, with Thompson's book serving as a huge inspiration to many who have cut their strands in an embrace of self love (and natural hair).
In addition to its narrative of introspection and self-acceptance, Nappily Ever After's production has become a hugely monumental moment for women in film — particularly women of color. Not only was the film adapted from a novel written by a black woman, it also features a predominately African-American cast, and is being directed by female Saudi Arabian film director, Haifaa al-Mansour. The movie was written by the majority female team of: Tina Gordon Chism, Lisa Loomer, Gina Prince-Bythewood, and Adam Brooks.
From the details, it's easy to see that Nappily Ever After is hugely feminist across the board. However, the real beauty is the message of self-love that lies within.