Something as simple as the kinks, curls and coils that naturally grow from our scalp should not be so revolutionary, but they are. Our natural tresses have been regulated, politicized, criminalized and turned into big business — and while we’ve been told to tame them, others have appropriated them as trends.
Now, first-time filmmaker Tasha Edinbyrd of GraysonVisuals is on a mission to show the world what it really means to be natural. Tasha has traveled the country (I’ve personally run into her in New York, Atlanta, and Dallas) exploring the stories behind what has gone from taboo to now a full-blown movement for her new documentary, Take Back The Crown.
The film gives voice to mothers, beauty influencers, stylists and brands as they navigate spaces within the natural hair community and share the trials, triumphs, and joys of their experiences.
Take Back The Crown is about “more than just hair,” says Tasha. “It symbolizes the knowledge and pride we can take in ourselves as we define our own standards of beauty, intellect, economics, and community.”
We caught up with the rising filmmaker to get more intel on the film, which is set to be released later this year, and how she sees it impacting the natural hair conversation.
Hype Hair: Congratulations on your new documentary! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
TASHA EDINBYRD: The film is called Take Back The Crown where we explore the natural hair industry through the eyes of the clients, stylists, business entrepreneurs and social media influencers who dominate the space. We look at the struggles, emotional impact and business opportunities that have generated a new renaissance of “hair empowerment.”
HH: What does that empowerment look like?
TASHA: Women are now more aware of their power in terms of beauty and how they want to present themselves in every arena. There’s a feeling that you can remove the mask and be who you want to be without the pressure of conforming to a standard that you will never meet.
HH: What inspired you to create the film?
TASH: I started my own natural hair journey in 2016 [when] I decided to do the big chop. From there, it prompted questions regarding this new world I was experiencing. I decided to pursue this path to bring my ideas to life and film seemed the best way to tell this story.
HH: So, you’ve been working on this for a couple of years now. How have you seen the conversations around natural hair change throughout the production process?
TASHA: When I started, it was more of a challenge to go natural. Now we’ve seen so many more women adopting the style and taking back the crown.
HH: How do you see the natural hair movement affecting the larger social conversation around beauty and Black women?
TASHA: The conversations are more consistent and more knowledge-filled. We see the standard of beauty changing in the media and in the mirror. There have been changes in the law regarding the workplace, the military, and changes in what you see in the media.
HH: What has been the most impactful thing you’ve learned along the creative journey?
TASHA: The sisterhood and the coming together of women of color to embrace their natural beauty. As we’ve traveled around the country filming interviews and talking to women, I’ve been inspired by the community of naturalistas and the sharing of information in the natural hair space. I’ve learned so much about myself and my hair.
HH: The most surprising thing?
TASHA: The amount of economic opportunity available in the natural hair space. There are so many ways to make a living based around natural hair. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world that I didn’t know existed.
HH: Let’s talk about the buzz behind it, as well. The film isn’t even out yet and you are already speaking at film festivals — including the Capital City Black Film Festival in Austin this weekend. What does that mean for you?
TASHA: As a first-time filmmaker, this entire journey has been both a blessing and a lesson. The outpouring of support we have received not only lets us know we’re on the right track, but also that a film like this is necessary.
I am honored every time someone invites me to speak or talk about the film. The public is hungry for this type of content. We need our stories to be told. For GraysonVisuals, it means that the marketplace is ready for our film and we are ready to deliver.
For more info on Take Back The Crown, visit takebackthecrown.com