Since its debut, Random Acts of Flyness has served Terence Nance’s artistic inclination to examine, celebrate, and critique the many nuances of the black experience. In the above segment, titled “Bad Hair,” Nance and RAOF writer/director Mariama Diallo accomplish all three at once.
In tackling the stigma surrounding natural black beauty, and the ways in which it inherently defies Eurocentricity, the segment brings to life what it truly means when black folks are said to have “bad hair.”
It's a microaggression synonymous with our macro experience; it's a surface-level dig used to reinforce the more systemic ways racism strips us of our worth.
To illustrate this point, Nance parodies one of the most memorable scenes from Spike Lee’s 1992 film, Malcolm X, wherein a fellow inmate reads the dictionary definition of the word “black” to X, then known as Detroit Red. In the version that Nance imagines, the word “bad” is defined instead. The readings turn out to be unsurprisingly similar.
Catch Random Acts of Flyness on HBO every Friday at midnight, as well as next season, as the show was recently renewed for a second run.