The Hair Tales: Tracee Ellis Ross and Oprah Winfrey Join Bestselling Author Michaela Angela Davis to Present a Series Celebrating Black Hair

The docuseries will simultaneously broadcast on OWN and Hulu as part of 'an unprecedented partnership.'

Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis at the launch of Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern Beauty on September 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis at the launch of Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern Beauty on September 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Morgan Lieberman (Getty Images)

As the CROWN Act slowly inches closer to becoming a national mandate (12 states down, 38 to go), an “intimate and authentic” upcoming docuseries intends to explore “the connection between Black women, beauty and identity through the lens of Black hair.”

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On Thursday, it was announced that bestselling author and “image activist” Michaela Angela Davis (co-author of The Meaning of Mariah Carey) has conceptualized The Hair Tales, which she will narrate with friend, actress and Pattern Beauty founder Tracee Ellis Ross. Davis and Ross will also executive produce alongside an all-women-of-color team including Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Films, Tara Duncan and Onyx Collective, and founding partners of Culture House, Raeshem Nijhon and Carri Twigg. Joy Mill Entertainment and Tetravision are also on the production team.

“There is a story in every curl, coil and kink of our hair,” said Davis in a press release provided to The Root. “This show will be a dynamic adventure through these stories of ancestry and innovation, politics and pop culture, ritual, resilience, and revolution but mostly reveal humanity. It will affirm Black women, inform others and inspire everyone.” 

More on The Hair Tales:

In “The Hair Tales” narrators and real-life friends Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela angela Davis, lead the audience through a revelatory journey of connecting the personal tales of phenomenal Black women to broader societal and historic themes. The stories shared in the series offer an honest and layered look into the complex culture of Black hair and ultimately Black women’s identity, creativity, and contributions to society—all delivered with a rare mix of intelligence, humor, style, joy, and justice.

“This series is about identity, culture and legacy, beauty, strength and joy,” Ross explained. “Hair is a portal into the souls of Black women, it drives straight to the center of who we are. Our goal is to share this vibrant community, where we hold a sacred space for each other. Like many women, I can trace my own journey to self-acceptance through my hair. This series is personal and universal, American and global. It is a love letter to Black women.”

A teaser for the series debuted in tandem with the announcement, featuring the aptly titled song “Wash & Set” by Leikeli47.

The docuseries will also mark an “unprecedented partnership” between the Oprah Winfrey Network and Hulu, which will simultaneously broadcast The Hair Tales on OWN and as a Hulu Original. The series will also be available internationally as a Star Original on Disney+.

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Oprah also shared a personal anecdote explaining her affinity for the project:

“Early in my career, when I was just 22, my boss informed me my hair was too thick for the green screen wall behind the news desk and I needed to change my style,” she said. “So I was sent to a fancy salon in New York City and the stylist put a French perm on my hair. It burned so badly when he washed the perm out, my hair came out with it—and so did my identity and sense of self. Having grown up with the cultural edict ‘your hair is your crowning glory,’ it took awhile to regain confidence with my teeny weeny Afro. I learned then that our hair and how we as Black women see ourselves had deep roots.”

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“Every Black woman has a personal and defining story that involves her hair,” Onyx Collective founder Duncan agreed. “From the moment Tracee and Michaela shared the idea for this series, I knew it would strike a chord with Black women and anyone who has ever been curious about the singular connection between our hair, our agency, our beauty and our identity.”

The Hair Tales will begin production later this year for a 2022 premiere.

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