Main character Lunella's natural hair on Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow episode of Disney's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
Image source: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Disney

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, a new animated series from Marvel now streaming on Disney+, follows the adventures of a 13-year-old genius superhero and her accidental dinosaur sidekick in Lower East Side, New York. Here’s what the natural hair discussion on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur gets so right.

What people love about Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

As a younger millennial I’m always curious to see how new-age cartoons approach inclusivity as the world of media becomes more mindful of all human experiences, and from my perspective–not many shows do it as well as this one. It manages to portray genuine Black experiences without feeling gimmicky, which I appreciate as a Black woman myself. And according to most reviews, everyone else is loving it, too. More specifically, the internet has been buzzing about episode 5 of the series where the main character Lunella is made to feel insecure about her natural hair.

Natural hair on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

In this episode, titled “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow,” we see Lunella’s mother Adria scold her for neglecting her hair. Later when Lunella is venting about her mom’s comments in school, a White classmate mentions that it makes no sense for her mom to be upset because her hair “always looks messy like that,” is “frizzy” and “stands on end.” And then, as if that wasn’t enough of a passive aggressive display, the classmate follows up with a smug, “but that’s the look you’re going for, right?” (I swear it feels like I could have had this exact conversation several times over in real life.) Take a look at this scene from the episode below. 

Even after her friend Casey tries to reassure her that her natural hair is perfect as-is, Lunella decides to create her own superpowered hair-straightening concoction that ultimately takes her hair out. That fallen hair becomes a sentient being named Mane that goes haywire and threatens to create a sentient hair army with the hair-straightening concoction. Of course with Lunella being the superhero that she is, she stops Mane from world domination, but also finally acknowledges that she took her hair for granted. She realizes that she actually misses her natural hair and only straightened it because she felt ashamed. In response, Mane returns to her head just in time for picture day at school.

The Black childhood experience in cartoons

The show (and this episode in-particular) is so refreshingly direct with this subject matter. Where other cartoons tend to make certain experiences more subdued, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur very confidently delves into the Black childhood experience of wanting to make textured hair “pretty” and “acceptable” by chemically straightening it, a topic that is usually relegated to non-mainstream media.

Kibby @SashaWHater2 on Twitter said: “The way this is such a common experience for black girls to go through..  I’m so glad it’s confidently addressed on the show. Ik many of us have had a classmate/teacher make us feel insecure [about] our natural hair then proceed to compliment us the minute we get it straightened.” 

A commenter under the post replied: “Just watched the ep not too long ago, and still can’t get over how relatable this whole episode is. Because I remember growing up thinking there was something wrong with my natural hair so I’m glad to see this sort of issue actually being represented.”

Another reason why this show is amazing: this episode on hair is only a fraction of Lunella’s adventures. She is an intentionally Black character, but most of the show is focused on using her intelligence to save the world from some eccentric villain, or her and her best friend’s journeys through adolescence. It’s a shining example of how Black characters can exist in a multidimensional space, especially in cartoons. 

Our final consensus is that everyone should run, not walk to watch this show regardless of age, gender, or hair texture. Based on reviews, it’ll be a quick family favorite. 

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