Mixed-ish (2019) s01e03 Episode Script

Let Your Hair Down

1 - Unh! - BOW: Today, the natural hair movement is a celebration that allows women of color to wear their kinky tendrils loudly and proudly.
But we had to fight to get here, and our hair used to be the tip of the spear.
So, while the afros of the '60s and the '70s became those decades' symbols of revolution hair in the '80s became all about assimilation.
See, once black people found themselves in jobs that used to be only open to white people, natural hair became a symbol of otherness.
So, to fit in, we dyed it, tied it, and fried it.
But me, I still hadn't gotten the memo.
Excuse me, your hair is making it hard to learn.
- Oh.
- So, Wednesday is picture day! I know I say this every year, but school pictures are how people will remember you for the rest of your lives.
If you want to learn that the hard way, fine.
They don't pay me enough to argue with children.
It's true.
You should take the pictures seriously.
People still rag on me because my left eye used to be a little lazy.
[Camera shutter clicks.]
- Well, now you can barely tell.
- What? It's supposed to be gone! That continues into adulthood.
And because school pictures are so important, we will not wear T-shirts with bad words on them, Jeffrey.
We will keep our tongues inside of our mouths, Daniel.
Our clothes will be pressed, and our hair will be neat.
I repeat, our hair [Taps desk.]
will be neat.
So, while today, my hair is an emblem of my proud, unapologetic black heritage, for 12-year-old me, it was just another way I was different.
In the mix Oh, oh, oh, they keep trying But they can't stop us 'Cause we got a love That keeps rising up In the mix Life turns around 'Round and 'round it goes Ooh, it's a mixed-up world Ooh, it's a mixed-up And that's for sure Mixed-up In the mix Baby We're gonna get by We're gonna On our own, side by side Love's all we need to be free Lo-o-o-ve is all I got you, you got me Yaaaaay us! I-I-In the mix Yaaaaay us! I-I-In the mix-ish Hey, kids! - Hey, Grandpa.
- Hey.
- Hello.
- Grandpa! If you two hang out enough, - maybe your cycles will sync up.
- [chuckles.]
That's very funny.
But I'm actually pretty good at this hair thing.
- Right, Santamonica? - SANTAMONICA: Can I be honest? You're kind of a one-trick pony.
Oh, that reminds me.
Make sure it's a Mom hair day Wednesday.
We're taking pictures at school.
Got it.
Guys, come on, I can bring my A-game for picture day.
My hair is not a game.
I want Mommy! ALICIA: Baby, don't worry about picture day.
All of you have perfect hair.
Yeah, a lady at the grocery store asked who did my perm.
But this picture thing seems like a big deal.
Collins said my hair should look neat and Excuse me? Neat? She said "neat"? Who are you to tell my daughter how to wear her hair? How dare you? [Scoffs.]
White people.
If there's one thing my parents loved more than us, it was tag-teaming ignorance.
I really didn't know that looking neat was a bad thing.
"Neat," "tame," "manageable"? That kind of language will give our daughter a complex about her natural hair! I am really sorry.
Could you explain to your wife Don't look at me.
- I am not your friend.
- Mm.
Well, I truly didn't mean anything.
Because I actually love your daughter's hair.
I can always find her so easily in the hallway, and it is so big, and furry.
Like my Chia Pet.
- [School bell rings.]
- Oh.
Saved by the bell.
So, how did everyone change the world today? I'll start.
Today, your mother and I fixed racism.
Well, we didn't fix it all.
But we did set a racist teacher straight.
Ooh! You yelled at a white person? - Yes.
- Tell me everything.
So, picture day is coming up, and this woman had the nerve to tell Rainbow to make sure that her hair was neat.
I never thought I'd say this, but you owe that white lady an apology.
Your baby's hair should be neat.
RAINBOW: I'm confused.
Is "neat" a racist word? - No! - Yes.
It's not racist, it's the truth.
School pictures are forever, - so all y'all need to tame your hair.
- Thank you, but I'm raising my kids to be proud of their hair.
They can't look good and be proud? So, should I get a haircut? - No! - Yes! Honestly, I need to take you all to a professional, because these home haircuts and afro puffs are not working.
SANTAMONICA: Hold on! So there are people who do hair for a living? - Yeah, but - And I trusted you! ALICIA: See? This is what I was trying to avoid.
I don't want my kids getting caught up in mainstream standards of beauty.
I don't remember you fighting for "standards of beauty" in your wedding pictures.
Look at this.
Re You Mm-hmm.
Look at that.
You look so pretty.
Oh, yeah, your hair looked really good.
I mean, unless you you don't think it does.
But your your hair looks beautiful to me always.
- Like a black Farrah Fawcett.
- Oh.
No, you Farrah is, like, a white you Uh, who wants dessert? I'm in.
Well, I don't change it anymore.
As proud as my mother was of her natural hair It didn't seem like she always was.
And as I stared at her wedding photo, I realized that when it came to special occasions, if you wanted to look great, you might just have to go straight.
JOHAN: Dad? I've been thinking about what Aunt Dee-Dee said, and maybe I do need a haircut before picture day.
All right! Yes! Hair bowl is clean and ready.
Actually, I was thinking of something a bit different.
Maybe a flat top? A flat I can try.
Dad, I love your haircuts, but can I try a real barber shop? Sure, buddy.
Yeah, whatever you want.
Yes! That's bad.
But not "bad" meaning bad, but "bad" meaning good.
DENISE: If you're looking for Denise, she has unfortunately passed on and is unable to pay any debts.
Aunt Dee-Dee, it's Rainbow.
Oh, hey, girl, what's up? I was thinking about it, and I really want my hair to get straightened for picture day.
- Will you take me to the beauty salon? - I'll do it.
Do you think you're going to a beauty salon without me? - Mommy! - Shh! No, you can't come.
I can't have that clown messing up my crown anymore.
- Mommy! - Shh! Fine, fine, fine, fine.
You can come with us.
You know, Dad really is trying.
He's a clown, Rainbow.
And for the first time since leaving the commune, I was trying to fit in.
Hey, guys, how are ya? Tommy, I brought you a new customer.
Thank you, Mr.
You sure you want to go through with this? Not too late to change your mind.
Oh, don't listen to him, Johan.
Come here.
Hop right up there, buddy.
Boy, I am so happy that you decided to come to my barber shop for your first haircut.
I've been coming here since before you were legally allowed to come here.
- Nice history lesson.
- [Camera clicks.]
So, what kind of style do you have in mind today? Whatever makes me look the most fresh.
"Fresh"? Uh, Lewis, you know how to cut fresh? No, he said he wants to look like that rapper Schoolly D.
Ohh, I see.
Perhaps the young gentleman might be more comfortable at that barbershop on MLK? Oh.
Because it's a black barbershop? This is unbelievable.
- Johan, let's go.
Okay, hang on, hang on.
Listen, Tommy, I'm sure there's something you can do with the kid's hair so we don't have to go anywhere near MLK.
Dad, come on.
Fine, I'll go.
But I'm leaving my camera here.
And my Rolex.
And my money clip.
And my house keys.
[Keys clack.]
You have anything of value? Just kidding.
Let's go.
I still remember everything about the first time I walked into a salon.
[Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" plays.]
The sound of the hair sizzling on the hot comb, the roar of the blow dryer, the R&B oldies on the radio, and the sound of black women yelling over it all.
It might have been my first time through those doors, but it felt like home.
- Wow.
- JALEESA: Hey, Dee-Dee.
DENISE: Hey, Jaleesa girl.
I thought your appointment was next week.
It is, but I was hoping you could squeeze my nieces in.
School picture day is coming up, and, well you see them.
They got Indian in them? Their daddy's white.
Oh, well, it won't take me long.
You both got that good hair.
Thank you, but I got good everything.
Those were the "Good hair" might have sounded like a compliment, but it's not.
In America, white hair has always been the standard of beauty.
Maybe this is why our first black millionaire was Madam C.
Walker a woman who made a fortune by developing a way to straighten black hair.
No matter how you spun it, the term "good hair" was bad for black self-esteem.
[Bell jingles.]
[TV Chatter.]
All right.
[Door closes, bell jingles.]
Hey, we're just looking to get my son's hair cut.
Uh, I don't see color, but he is half black.
- You married a sister? - Yeah.
I see you, white flash.
Just give me a minute.
[TV chatter continues.]
You like boxing? Oh, love boxing.
Which fighter you got? [Bell dings.]
This feels like a trick.
JOHAN: There it is.
- That's the one.
- That is the one.
Just not for you.
- Why not? - It won't work.
Your hair's not black enough for it.
Then how about that? [Inhales sharply.]
Definitely not that one.
I'm sorry, young blood.
Is there a cut you can give my son? I mean, I could cut it all off.
Come on, let's just go.
- Whoa, whoa, hold on.
- I want to go home.
We should listen to the boy.
I haven't said anything offensive yet, but I can feel it bubbling up.
Thank you.
[Door opens, bell jingles.]
I like O'Malley in seven.
'Course you do.
They say time heals all wounds, but in a black salon, it seemed like the longer you were there, the more painful it became.
Exciting She's so exciting to me But in the end, it felt like it was all worth it.
You like it? I didn't like it.
I love it.
- ALICIA: How was the mall? - You tell me.
RAINBOW: I'm sorry.
Are you mad? I'm not mad at you.
You're just a child.
But an adult should've asked my permission before she touched my babies' heads.
They asked me to take them.
You know I didn't want to change their hair.
So is this a bad time to ask for the $45 I just spent? - So you do hate it? - It's not up to me.
Do you like it? Honestly, I really like it.
Well, if you like it, I love it.
Yes? Hey, Santi.
Yes? Who's that girl looking beautiful? Oh, it's just Santi! Thanks.
That's money well-spent.
[Indistinct conversations.]
Another reason black women internalize Eurocentrism? It seems like no one ever notices your hair until you straighten it.
Hey, nice hair.
Somebody got their hair done.
I really like your hair.
Having straight hair was magical.
For the first time in my new life, I felt seen by everyone white girls, black girls, even boys.
But for Johan, suddenly, his hair became a symbol of how different he was.
So, he and my father set out to fix it.
Just give us a beat and we'll pass the test We're gonna make you down from your head to your toes Turn up the stereos, and here we go Now, early one day, I got the urge to drive - Huh? - [Music slows, stops.]
Okay, I'll be right back.
Huh? Now, we're the Poor Boys Here to make some noise Tryin' to bring all the people some pride and joy We're the last three brothers on the microphone Just cruisin' around where the beat might go We're gonna hip, gonna hop, gonna rap to the beat Till everybody around starts moving their feet We could run, swim, walk Hey, babe.
Where's your comb? On the sink.
Hey, what do you think about Rainbow's new look? I mean it's beautiful.
But unnecessary.
But as the African goddess Oshun once said Stop trying to be politically correct.
What do you really think? All I know is that today, it took half the time it usually takes to get the girls ready for school, and it seems that Rainbow has a lot more confidence.
Isn't that a good thing? [Sighs.]
I just don't want our kids to equate straight hair with confidence.
I want them to be proud of their natural hair like I am with mine.
You know I love your hair, but were you born with that confidence, or did you have to learn it? [Inhales deeply.]
I don't know.
I don't know where it came from.
They'll get there.
It just takes time.
But is it good or bad that I'm about to try to give Johan something called "corn rolls"? [Chuckles.]
We rock and don't stop Johan's identity as a black boy was threatened when his hair wasn't "black enough" for any of the popular styles.
But today, he didn't have that problem.
Every time you're screaming, crying, well, we're here with no denying We hold our honor and our pride Just take a step and kept in stride We set down rules you will abide - We're gonna take you for a ride - Hey, Johan! [Beads clattering.]
Hey, everyone, look at Ebony and Ivory over here! [Laughter.]
- Yeah, isn't she lovely? - Aww.
But when his hair couldn't follow in Stevie's footsteps, Johan followed the path of many mixed boys who don't feel black enough.
They overcompensate.
And on the other side of school, I was having my own hair problems.
You going to gym like that? Yeah.
Thank you.
Unfortunately, that wasn't a compliment.
It was a warning.
Because my hair wasn't wrapped up, I was about to sweat it out.
White people, allow Dr.
Johnson to explain.
When straightened hair gets wet, hydrogen bonds form between water molecules and the proteins in your hair.
This causes the hair to revert to its natural curl.
But if you keep your hair wrapped up until it's dry, what you manage to do is physically hold your hair in the shape you want.
This way, it can't snap back.
But nobody told me to do that.
I tried to tell you.
And just like that, it was like the clock struck midnight and my hair had pumpkin'd, and the person in the mirror was a curly-headed weirdo that mainstream standards of beauty had taught me to be ashamed of.
I couldn't look at her, and I knew I had to find another glass slipper, stat.
A fight? You got in a fight in school? You didn't happen to pick up any of those beads, did you? - Paul.
- Son, in this family, we don't fight with fists.
And we don't leave beads on the ground.
- [Alicia stomps.]
- Sorry, they weren't cheap.
- But they were making fun of my hair.
- [Sighs.]
If they were making fun of you, they were probably just jealous.
I'm sorry, baby, I can't lie to you.
Hi, B Oh! What happened to your head? Not to be petty, but I did just pay $45 for it.
Yes, I know it's messed up, but picture day is tomorrow.
Can someone please help me fix this? - Yes, I'm on it - Not you, clown.
Hey! - Okay, but the real problem here is my hair.
- Whoa! - You heard the clown! - But you can't talk to me like that.
[Overlapping arguing.]
Everybody stop! It's finally time to talk about this.
Living room.
You guys are free to do whatever you want.
But I'll be honest.
When you change your hair, it makes me feel like I didn't raise you to love yourself.
When we left for the commune, everything was loud, proud, and natural, and now Now we have jobs.
The revolution is not paying my car note, PanAm is.
I'm just kidding.
I am not paying my car note.
Seems like everyone was so caught up in trying to fit in that they forgot to try and be the good black people they already were.
So I'm not a good black person if my hair is straight? Baby I'm sorry.
I was so big on this natural hair thing because I know how hard it was for me to get back to it.
And I didn't want you to go through that.
But the truth is I change my hair every day when I go to work.
So, it's not my place to tell anyone what to do with their hair.
Especially since we fought so they couldn't tell us what to do with ours.
"They" is white people.
I can go.
No, you need to hear this.
We need to understand every part of their hair so we can be proud of whatever choice they make natural, straight, fake, or real.
I know that's right.
And right now, I choose to stop itching.
- Whoa.
- Whoo.
Oh, my.
So, none of that is your hair.
It's all mine because I paid for it.
- Paid for it.
- Yes.
And no matter how you wear it, baby, you'll always be a good black person.
You hear me? Love circle.
[Camera shutter clicks.]
I know this looks like a victory, but the truth is I tried to straighten my hair that morning, and I failed.
Okay, next.
Aunt Denise was right.
[Camera shutter clicking.]
School pictures were forever.
But that didn't mean our hair journey stopped when the bell rang and school let out.
No, those would follow us for the rest of our lives and change over and over.
Even if we only married into the culture.
But as a 12-year-old girl, I didn't understand how complicated it all was.
I was just a kid who let society make her embarrassed by her natural hair.
Little did I know, this would be the hair that I would spend the rest of my life trying to get back to, that would one day be my source of power and strength.
But the process of self-love never happens overnight.
And while the same can be said for our country, the process has to start somewhere.
On July 3rd of this year, California governor Gavin Newsom passed the CROWN Act, making California the first state to ban discrimination against black employees and students over their natural hairstyles.
So, while the laws are catching up, black women express themselves in a variety of different hairstyles, and one thing has been and will always be true all hair is good hair.
Not trying to rush you, but the kid has places to be.
One day, you'll look back and realize how amazing it was that your white father was able to do this.
Not that I see color.
And ah! Whoa, 10 minutes! New record.
- Mirror.
- Oh.
Not bad! But next time, I'll need to hear some gossip.
I could tell you about the Coopers, but don't you have places to be? I can be late.