Happy to Be Nappy

HBO, 2004


This half hour film focuses on children who are learning to embrace what makes them different - whether it’s being the only blind student who attends a mainstream elementary school, the only child with cerebral palsy in the neighborhood, the only small person the kids have ever seen (“I don’t like being called ‘midget’ because it sounds like I’m from Mars or something,”) or the only boy in ballet school. Young African American girls come to love their black hair and very dark skin in a sea of white private school students. Blending these personal vignettes with some of the best loved children’s stories and poems, from bell hooks, Peter Sis and Langston Hughes among others, the film speaks to the universal desire for acceptance and self-acceptance and highlights a growing consciousness about the urgent need for diverse role models and relationships in young people’s lives.  Featuring the voices of Mary J. Blige, Rita Moreno, Harvey Fierstein, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Isaac Mizrachi.        




“This beautifully produced special about children who celebrate their own race, culture, and other unique qualities and accept differences in others, should be required viewing in every classroom in America...Happy To Be Nappy and Other Stories of Me has found the right voice and the right message to teach even adults we must honor our differences instead of being frightened and limited by them.”

-Marian Wright Edelman, Founder, Children’s Defense Fund.  


“Very moving...the vignettes featuring children’s real stories are a testament to the human spirit.  Happy to be Nappy is a show that demands discussion.”

-Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatu, President of Spelman College and Author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria and Other Conversations about Race.”