School of Literature, Media, and Communication Distinguished Alumna, Ayoka Chenzira's film Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People (1984), is one of 30 films included in this year's annual list added to the national film registry:
Hair Piece is an insightful and funny short animated film examining the problems that African-American women have with their hair. Director Ayoka Chenzira, generally considered the first black woman animator, was a key figure in the development of African-American filmmakers in the 1980s through her own films and work to expand opportunities for others. Writing in The New York Times, critic Janet Maslin lauded this eccentric yet jubilant film. She notes the narrator "tells of everything from the difficulty of keeping a wig on straight to the way in which Vaseline could make a woman's hair sound like the man in The Fly saying, 'Help me!'"
"For my independently produced animated experimental film to be included in the National Film Registry is quite an honor," Chenzira said. "I never imagined that Hair Piece would be considered to have cultural significance outside of its original intent, which was a conversation and a love letter to black women (and some men) about identity, beauty and self-acceptance in the face of tremendous odds."