Hair process of ‘go­ing nat­u­ral’ plays out on Starz com­edy


Tey­onah Par­ris’ char­ac­ter, Missy, un­der­goes an emo­tion­ally charged tran­si­tion in the sec­ond sea­son of Starz’s “Sur­vivor’s Re­morse.”

Jessie T. Usher also stars in the com­edy about a pro bas­ket­ball player and his fam­ily liv­ing in At­lanta. The show re­turns for its sec­ond sea­son on Satur­day (0130 GMT).

In the first episode, Missy de­cides to “go nat­u­ral” by not us­ing re­laxer in her curly hair. She cuts her hair very short, and view­ers see her re­ac­tion.

The process is a per­sonal one for Par­ris, who stopped us­ing re­laxer five years ago.

“I was in New York and I saw this young woman with a very beau­ti­ful ( nat­u­ral) hair­style and I said to my friend, ‘ I wish my hair could do that,’ and she said, ‘ Oh, it could.’ And I said, ‘ No, no, no. My hair’s too straight.’ And she looked at me and she said, ‘ Be­cause you re­lax it, but if you didn’t your hair could do that.’ And it was re­ally an aha mo­ment. ... I had been get­ting my hair re­laxed since I was maybe 9 years old, so I de­cided to em­bark on that jour­ney.”

She and showrun­ner Mike O’Malley thought it would be in­ter­est­ing for her char­ac­ter to go through that process as well.

“We’re in a time right now where a lot of women of color are start­ing to con­sider and em­brace just wear­ing their hair as it nat­u­rally grows out of their head and not us­ing chem­i­cal pro­cesses any longer to straighten,” Par­ris said. “It can be quite a tran­si­tion be­cause we have been bom­barded for so long ... about what beauty is and it’s a very Euro­cen­tric idea. To de­cide to go against that and em­brace what you ac­tu­ally look like, it can be quite shock­ing.”

Par­ris said Missy’s ex­pe­ri­ence of go­ing nat­u­ral is just one ex­am­ple of how it can play out.

“It’s im­por­tant to see your­self in the ex­pe­ri­ences that you may go through re­flected in art, and I’m glad we’re ex­plor­ing it a bit,” she said. “This is one woman’s story.”


In this July 31 file photo, Tey­onah Par­ris, a cast mem­ber in the tele­vi­sion se­ries “Sur­vivor’s Re­morse,” poses for a por­trait dur­ing the 2015 Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion Sum­mer Press Tour in Bev­erly Hills, Cal­i­for­nia.

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