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Spelman College Faculty Stories

Faculty Stories

Film by Ayoka Chenzira Added to National Registry

January 2019

Film by Ayoka Chenzira in National Registry"Hair Piece: a film for nappyheaded people" (1984) by Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., Spelman's division chair for the arts, chair of the Department of Art & Visual Culture and professor, is one of twenty-five films to be included in the National Film Registry of the United States' Library of Congress. Her work, chosen in the 30th annual selection of films deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, will be preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations.

About the Film

Hair Piece is "an animated satire that unpacks the stereotypes associated with Black hair texture and styles, and the ways in which Black hair is made to be non-normative. In this satirical short that incorporates mixed media and animation, Dr. Chenzira critiques the limits of the European beauty standard. She draws attention to the physical pains Black women have endured to straighten their hair, and the emotional pain that comes as a result of the pressure to conform. "Hair Piece" also commemorates the power of Black cultural icons and the Soul Power era for helping to shift the perception of Black hair from ‘nappy’ to a texture of beauty."


Spelman's Digital Innovator Shines

A dancer and photographer by trade, Dr. Chenzira ventured into film because she wanted her photography to do more. In 2018, she made her television directorial debut as part of an all-women director’s line-up for the OWN drama, “Queen Sugar.

Her distinctive body of work spans fiction, documentary, animation, performance, experimental narratives, and interactive cinema. Her film work includes “Alma’s Rainbow,” one of the first 35mm independent films by an African-American woman, along with “Hair Piece: a film for nappyheaded people,” “Zajotaand the Boogie Spirit,” “My Own TV” and HERadventure.”