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Last night, Un-ruly.com founder Antonia Opiah premiered her first short film to a small audience in a TriBeCa theater. The film focused on the natural hair exhibit she hosted this past summer called "You Can Touch My Hair." The short film, by the same name, was sponsored by Pantene and told the story of how the exhibit came to be -- and how the world responded.

For Opiah, a Nigeria-native now living in NYC by way of Florida, she has always had a certain native about natural hair.

"I never thought about my hair growing up," she said. "It was just my hair."

When she moved to Florida at the age of 9, she quickly began to realize that there was still a lot of tension over race relations, but it would take her until college to fully understand the extent.

"I thought, 'People aren't in shackles anymore. That was a long time ago,'" she said. "I thought it was in the past."

When media outlets started circulating stories about black women experiencing strangers just reaching otu and touching their natural hair, Opiah payed close attention. At the time, many articles attributed the phenomenon to curiosity, but Opiah couldn't wrap her head around why that curiosity existed to begin with.

This thought process led her to host the exhibit "You Can Touch My Hair," at which three black models stood out in Union Square in NYC with signs saying, "You Can Touch My Hair." Opiah's goal was to understand where that curiosity stemmed from, but the event raised more questions than answers.

On the second day of the exhibit, protesters lined the streets. It was black women with natural hair against black women with natural hair -- each talking about pain points in coming to accept their hair, and the protesters ultimately declaring that they, and women with natural hair in general, will not be treated like Sarah Baartman.

Sarah Baartman was a South African black woman who, in the 1700s, was sent to Europe and kept in cages. She had a body type different than what Europeans were used to seeing (a bigger back side and breasts, for starters). They paraded her around as a freak show attraction.

By Opiah's film gets brings the exhibit back to the underlying cause of curiosity about black hair, pointing out that the purpose of the exhibition was to draw a crowd and spark a conversation.

After the film, there was a panel discussion between Opiah, Activist Michaela Angela Davis and one of the models from the second day of the exhibit (the day when the protesters arrived).

The conversation was enlightening, to say the least, and made it clear that everyone has a very different opinion about natural hair, how to treat it, what it means and why they do or do not wear it. Over all, the point driven home was that this topic, this sometimes uncomfortable topic, needs to be talked about much, much more often. And, it needs to be talked about between black women and white women and Latina women -- and especially between races.

It turns out, for most of the women there, the people who touch their hair most often are other black women. And, as it turns out, the people who seem to disapprove more often of natural hair are black women.

In all, everyone's experience is different, but every voice matters. And the more that the natural hair voice is raised, the more we hear it, the better off we all are in making sure this isn't a trend, that this isn't a passing fad, that natural hair is here to stay -- and soon, the media industry will follow.

Watch the trailer to the short film, and tune in for the film's release Sunday, October 20th at 9pm EST on YouTube.com/Hairunruled

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