How ‘The Other Black Girl’ Celebrates and Embraces Black Hair By Opting for Natural Looks

When Hulu and Oynx Collective’s “The Other Black Girl” hit the airwaves, audiences weren’t ready for the cornucopia of hairstyling about to infiltrate their screens.  How women of color have their hair styled is a direct reflection of their identity. And that was just as important to the leading ladies on the show.

The show stars Sinclair Daniel as Nella, an editorial assistant, who after being the only Black girl at her company, grows excited when she learns a new Black girl named Hazel (Ashleigh Murray) has been hired. But as Hazel’s star begins to rise, Nella spirals out and discovers something sinister is going on at the Wagner Books.

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Based in Atlanta, “The Other Black Girl’s” hair department head, Pamela Hall wanted to create a safe, sacred environment akin to a Black beauty shop with any project she is associated with.

Speaking with Variety, Hall stressed the importance of the beauty salon to Black women showing how it’s a place where Black women gather for a sense of liberation, vulnerability and empowerment. “It’s an ongoing fight for Black women to be able to just be natural and I really hate that because we have some sisters with some beautiful textures you can do different things with, it’s unfortunate that people feel like you have to have a certain texture of hair to be “professional,” Hall passionately stated. “If you’re natural and that is what you are blessed with, why does it have to be what society says?”

With that, natural looks are what she opted for when it came to creating the show’s looks.

Nella, excited to join the company is considered a conformist, dressing in sensible office attire and sports a baby Afro. Hazel, on the other hand, is on the cool side, and wears blazers and wears long locs.

Malaika (Brittan Adebumola) is Nella’s best friend who helps her find her way through this workplace and helps Nella understand the problems tied to Hazel. Malaika’s style needed to be free of color and style to reflect her buoyant personality.

Real Housewife star Garcelle Beauvais plays Diana Gordon, a buttoned up, conniving, overconfident who has secrets of her own. As it turns out, she has been encouraging her colleagues to use hair grease, which brainwashes them to learn the skills on how to become successful in the company and corporate America. Hazel is not the sinister person here, but Diana.

With this range of characters, Hall could incorporate a plethora of natural styles such as French twist, Afro puffs, corn rows, braids, faux locs, relaxers and wigs to achieve the various looks.

Taking place in the 70’s and 80’s, Hall grabbed inspiration from her mother and family members. “It wasn’t hard to remember what your Mom and Aunts looked like back in the day or how my Grandmother used to roll my bangs with sponge rollers,” said Hall. Nella played by Sinclair Daniel was one person to who she applied that to. Said Hall, “She’s rocking a specialized natural afro-styled wig  for the entire show until the processed more chemically relaxed style in the end.”

By the end, Nella shows up in straight hair, and seemingly has joined Diana’s side.

The Other Black Girl -- “The End of Love” - Episode 108 -- Nella’s worst fears begin to come true as she tries to put all the pieces together before the launch of Diana’s new imprint. Diana (Garcelle Beauvais), shown. (Photo by: Wilford Harwood/Hulu)
Diana is at the heart of the show’s sinister brainwashing plot.

Hall‘s childhood skills have served her well as she is currently working on a “top secret project” while holding the work she created for “The Other Black Girl” continues to shine as she created looks for multi-racial casts, proving that when trained properly with all textures and types of hair magic can be created on and off the screen.

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