Films by this Filmmaker in the Tri-College Library Collection

Black, Bold and Beautiful (Dir: Nadine Valcin, 1999)

Country of Origin:
Running Time: 40 min

Format: Color, VHS

Black, Bold and Beautiful depicts a relationship that few films venture to explore: the relationship between black women and their hair. The multitude of styles and their social implications are discussed in this riveting documentary. Valcin, through six different women of varying ages, illustrates the effects hair can have on the lives of black women. Using interviews, narration, and personal pictures and videos, Valcin manages to beautifully tell the histories and struggles of black women and their hair. Social and racial, as well as private and familial issues are explored, and in the process Valcin is able to “comb” through to the root of the problem. Far more than a mere accessory, some women find their hair defines them, while others refuse to fall into society’s expectations of them. The six women interviewed, all falling between 16 and 60 years old, had very different experiences with their hair, but could agree on one thing: it is a large and important part of them.

While some chose to go “natural” and others to “relax” their hair, the social aspects of the choices can not be ignored. Because society tells women that straight hair is beautiful, black women straighten and perm their hair. This social pressure, which all the women recognize and discuss, is the main reason women struggle constantly with their hair. This struggle, which not only occurs within, but amongst mothers and daughters, can greatly affect relationships. Auna, one of the women in Black, Bold, and Beautiful, attested to the difficulties that hair caused between she and her mother.

This is a beautiful and personal film. It wonderfully introduces issues and questions the effects of society’s perception of beauty.


“Amazing that a documentary about hair can say so much about politics, race and culture.”
Antonia Zerbisias
The Toronto Star

” An entertaining and informative primer on the do’s and don’ts of Black hair….Filmmaker Nadine Valcin runs her comb through some of the tangled dilemmas surrounding Black hairstyles.”
Starweek Magazine