The Straight Truth: Play Probes Issues Black Women Have with Their Hair

By LaShawn Hudson Contributing Writer | 8/23/2013, 6 a.m.
At the dawn of this millennium, the Canadian playwright Trey Anthony abandoned a life of relative comfort in Toronto to ...
(Photo by Johnnetta Fielder-Pitts).

ATLANTA - At the dawn of this millennium, the Canadian playwright Trey Anthony abandoned a life of relative comfort in Toronto to fulfill a quest to set the record straight regarding the 'issues' black women have with their hair.

"I sold my car," said Anthony. "I sold my house. And people thought I was crazy for leaving everything, but I knew that I had to explore new territories. I had to get my art outside of Canada. I had to share the healing power of ‘da Kink’ with American women."

By 'da Kink', Anthony’s referring to her musical stage play 'da Kink in My Hair', which has won four NAACP Awards and numerous other competitions since it debuted at Toronto's Fringe Festival in 2001. It’s set to be staged September 6–8 at the Cobb Energy Performance Centre.

It dives deep into the frizzy roots of eight women. Grammy Award-winning Canadian singer Melanie Fiona, TV One's "R & B Divas" star Angie Stone and American actress Terri J. Vaughn ("The Steve Harvey Show", "Meet the Browns") lead the diverse cast.

When asked how the star-studded ensemble came together for this latest production, Anthony told the Atlanta Voice this: "It happened organically. I didn’t go searching for celebrities. It’s just one of those things that fell into place. The work spoke for itself. 'da Kink' already had a strong reputation behind it. There aren’t a lot of strong independent black women roles. I think that’s why black women wanted to be a part of it."

Cast members agree with Anthony and suggest that’s one of the very reasons why black women should come see the play.

"It’s where artistry meets artistry," said Fiona. "And I hope that everyone comes out to see this. It’s a life-changing experience. It’s really one of the most unique productions I have ever seen. Women will walk away stronger, with a sense of empowerment and definitely healed."

But you don’t have to have coarse, kinky hair to go see the "da Kink." Whether you have a relaxed hair style, braids, a weave, an Afro, dreadlocks or no hair at all, there’s a monologue in "da Kink" for you.

"There’s a character and a story that each woman can identify with," said Fiona. "There’s so much power in seeing this cast of women of color, of all backgrounds, of all different walks of life. And I think that‘s the greatest thing. It’s powerful to see women unite on an emotional level rather than separating on an emotional level."

Emotionally, each one of the characters has more than her fair share of life’s tangles, knots and breakages to contend with. The two-hour play showcases the authentic, global voices of the women through dance, song and talking drums.

One of the most prevalent underlying themes throughout the theatrical work is the belief that there are hidden truths stored in black women’s hair.

"If you want to know about a black woman," said Anthony, "touch her hair, because that‘s where we carry all of our joys, hurts and disappoints; right in our hair."