STORY WRITTEN BY ALICIA RANCILIO
NEW YORK (AP) — 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 (9:30 p.m. EDT).
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.”