Freedom Hair

  • Director

    Dianne Houston

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2023, 01:37:07

  • Category


  • Format


  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

FREEDOM HAIR: An inspiring story about making it all come true, one strand at a time.

April 26, 2024 @ 6:45PM • MoMI Redstone

View the Trailer


Based on the inspiring, true story of Melony Armstrong, a mother who works at a shelter for battered women decides to start a natural hair braiding business to achieve financial independence for herself and others. To do so she must overcome unexpected obstacles imposed by a powerful cartel and the state of Mississippi.


Dianne Houston, Director, Tuesday Morning Ride, Empire
Dianne Houston, Writer, Tuesday Morning Ride, Empire
Rob Pfaltzgraff, Producer, Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game, Miss Virginia
Lana Link, Producer, Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game
Stacey Parks, Producer
Simona Brown, Key Cast, “Melony”, Man Up, Behind Her Eyes
Sophia Bush, Key Cast, “Dana”, John Tucker Must Die, One Tree Hill
Erica Tazel, Key Cast, “Dee”, Justified, Roots
Jeremie Harris, Key Cast, “Kevin”, Legion
Sharon Conley, Key Cast, “Leona”, The Hunger Games

Director Statement

“Justice is what love looks like in public.”
-Dr. Cornell West

I have always held that Freedom Hair is a love story: A story of a Black woman’s emerging appreciation for her own beauty, realized through her journey from the confinement and tyranny of managing processed hair, to the freedom she finds in the beauty of her natural locks. It is also a love story between this woman, Melony, and the women for whom she paved the way to financial freedom by challenging the State of Mississippi’s unfair and prohibitive cosmetology laws. Love has a lot of power, and when love gets organized into political action, often, as in this story, the result is both freedom and justice.

Director Biography

DIANNE HOUSTON is an Oscar nominated writer/director with three decades of credits and accomplishments in television and film. In 1996, Houston transformed Arne Bontemp’s classic Harlem Renaissance short story A Summer Tragedy into her Academy Award nominated Short Film Tuesday Morning Ride. This nomination made Houston the first African American female director to be nominated for an Oscar in that or any other directing category.

Houston, known for her unique skills as a storyteller, director, and as a builder of memorable characters, has developed film and television projects for Showtime, HBO, Tribeca Films, Paramount, New Line, Participant Films, Universal, CBS, ABC, Paramount, and many others.

Her credits include: Take the Lead; Seacole; Knights of the South Bronx; Runaway Island; and Surviving Compton: Suge, Dre, and Michel’le (which won the Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Limited Series of Made for Television Movie, and was nominated for a WGA Award for Best Original Long Form in 2017); Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland; and several seasons of the series EMPIRE.

Writer and director of FREEDOM HAIR for MPI Original Films, she is the author/co-producer of the Charly Pride bio-pic AMERICAN PRIDE; and for NBCUniversal, she created Boley, a premium series based on the true story of the 1930s all Black town, Boley, Oklahoma. She is writing and directing Sugarfoot, a memoir of her adventures with Nina Simone.

Her production company ANCHOR STREET FILMS was established in 2019 as a home base for film, television, and literary projects stemming from the imagination of Dianne Houston. Fantasy, history, and genre bending storytelling thrive at Anchor Street, with the added spice of a global perspective literally anchored in a Black American female voice.

Houston began her career in theater, working with such greats as Ntozake Shange, Laurie Carlos, Peter Brook, La Mama, Joe Papp, Woodie King, and Joseph Chaikin. She credits “life changing exchanges” with James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Nina Simone, and Miles Davis for informing her world view of theater, art, history, and literature. These exchanges, combined with her theater background, shaped Houston’s voice as a writer and director for film. Houston is a mother of two amazing young people, both of whom have worked beside her on productions.

Dianne Houston is a cancer survivor, devoted to her family, great stories, laughter, and meditation.