Lush presents Naturally, a short and intimate look at the lives of three individuals, highlighting the often complex and varying relationships we have with our natural hair both internally and out in the world. We collaborated with award-winning filmmaker Alicia K. Harris on Naturally to delve into personal stories and Black history through the lens of our subjects’ natural hair journeys.
The live action short documentary filmmaker hails from Scarborough, Ontario. Alicia has created a body of work featuring the unique stories of Black women and the underrepresented. Alicia’s portraits in Naturally highlight her subjects’ complex and varying journeys and also strives to empower others on their own paths. “Black hair is more than just hair. It’s a significant part of our history and culture,” Alicia says.
Over the course of the seven-minute short, we are introduced to three intimately heartfelt and passionate real-life stories of Black individuals sharing their lives through the unique perspectives that come part and parcel with their hair. “Every Black person has a hair journey,” Alicia says. “Black hair is a delicate topic and should be approached with care and sensitivity. As a Black woman who has dealt with my own trauma in regards to hair, I really did my best to make this film set a safe place for my subjects and to honor them and their stories as if it was my own story on screen. I don't speak for all Black women, girls or Black people, but I did my best to tell an authentic story, while involving other Black people in key positions in the film's creation.”
“I wanted to make this documentary to remind other Black viewers this same message: you are NOT alone,” Alicia says. “We’re all going through it, together. Your hair is beautiful. I hope hearing the powerful stories of the film’s subjects Chloe, Orion and Judith will be the ‘revelation’ for some who are still struggling to love their natural hair.”
Going into the creation of Naturally, Alicia had some distinctive goals she wanted to achieve in terms of representation—particularly important to her personally given her own journey as a Black woman with first-hand lived experience of impactful hair-related memories. This creative choice influenced the direction of the film inviting viewers to watch the subjects intimately styling their hair during the interviews. “I really wanted to highlight the intricate details of the Black hair care process, one that’s usually personal and usually private—letting the viewer have a glimpse into our world.”
Lush’s Black Haircare Specialist, Sarah Sango has helped develop products designed specifically for textured hair. The range, featured in Naturally, includes six vegan products inspired by Sarah's family hair recipes. “I think the process of doing our hair and having our hair done by someone else, is truly beautiful. I’m glad we had the chance to celebrate it in this film,” Alicia says.
The final version of Naturally goes far beyond what you may initially anticipate a hair documentary to be capable of. “Naturally captures the journey of loving your natural hair. From the trials...to the triumphs!” Alicia says. “As Black people, our relationship with our hair is unique to us, but also one that connects us back to our ancestors and to each other. I hope Black people will relate to the stories our subjects shared and feel seen. Our hair is art, it’s history, it’s special—but hair is only one small part of our magic. More than Black hair, the film is about Black people. In sharing their hair journeys, Chloe, Orion and Judith shared their resilience, softness, humor, intelligence and more. Yes, the topic of hair is more than ‘just hair’ to us—but this film serves as a reminder that we are more than our hair.”
Naturally is seen through the world of its subjects’ hair while also approaching the incredibly moving history of Black hair as well—no easy feat for a short, but a task Alicia was able to conquer. “One of the topics briefly touched on in Naturally is how when Black people were enslaved, we were forced to cut or cover our hair,” Alicia shares. “Today, we are still seeing hair discrimination in many institutions, schools, workplaces and everyday actions by non-Black people like touching someone’s hair without permission or making ignorant and racist comments. When more non-Black people can better understand the history and relationship Black people have with their hair, my hope is they can change these harmful actions and Black people can be accepted and loved, however we choose to wear our hair.”
Watch the trailer for Naturally below. The film will debut on January 30th, 2021.