Taking a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a major commitment for many actors. Marvel Studios projects have become such a major part of the entertainment landscape and popular culture over the years that work with the studio could span multiple projects, but it isn't always the commitment or the visibility of the role that give some actors pause. Being part of the MCU also often comes with physical transformation as well and for Janeshia Adams-Ginyard, who plays one of the Dora Milaje in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and has also appeared in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, it was a very specific transformation that almost kept her from accepting the role. The actress and stuntwoman almost passed on Marvel due to reluctance to shave her head.
In an interview with The Direct, Adams-Ginyard spoke about how she was concerned about how she would look with her head shaved if she accepted the role of a Dora Milaje warrior. She explained that she even reached out to people close to her about the situation and her concerns about her hair.
"I think the cat's out of the bag, everyone knows that the Dora Jilaje have to shave their heads," Adams-Ginyard said. "And that was almost a challenge for me in the beginning because I almost didn't take the role because I had to shave my head. Like, I consulted my pastor, I called my friend, I was crying to her on the phone because I'm so attached my hair, I had this thing like 'Oh my God, if I shave my hair I'm gonna be ugly, I'm gonna look like a boy,' all of these different things. And [it was] just like 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on, okay? Hair does not make you. Hair does not define you. Hair does not determine if you're beautiful, if you're cute; that's all within [your heart], right?'"
For many women, particularly African American women, their hair is an important part of their appearance and identity so it makes sense that Adams-Ginyard might have some reservations about such a dramatic change. However, she went on to explain that her experience working on Black Panther ultimately helped her see the hair situation as an opportunity to show women that they are more than their hair.
"I think through my time on Panther, I really got a chance to embrace that and understand 'Hey, your hair does not make you.' First of all, it grows back, okay? Let's talk about that. Hair grows back!" Adams Ginyard said. "But two, the beauty is not defined from all that extra stuff, it's in [your heart]; like your core values, your morals, [all of] that. So, I think Black Panther really showed women who were not only fierce and confident, but beautiful, with no hair. That is so powerful in itself, especially for African American women, because culturally, we're so attached to our hair, we're so attached to it. But to see these melanated women on screen, bald-headed, fierce, and strong and powerful, I mean, all of that was beauty. That was beautiful."
She also said that after Black Panther was released, it was the reaction of children that made her realize the significance of the role -- and that hair had nothing to do with it.
"I think the world saw that, and they responded to it; young girls and boys alike were like 'Wow, they're strong!' and 'I wanna be like her!' [And] you're just like 'Wow, these little girls want to be like you! And you were worried about shaving your head because you were gonna look like a boy?'"
What do you think about Adams-Ginyard's reason for almost not taking her role as a member of the Dora Milaje in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.0comments
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