Hair as a Political Instrument in C.N. Adichie's Americanah and in ABC's How to Get Away With Murder

  • Rachele Puddu Università di Siena
Keywords: Hair, Americanah, Adichie, How to Get Away With Murder, Melting Pot, Assimilation


This essay reflects upon the political and cultural significance of hair for Black women. The acclaimed novel Americanah (2013) by the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and ABC's TV Series How to Get Away With Murder (2014-2020), cleverly address this issue as they both display their protagonists' struggles in accepting their natural hair. To be assimilated into the US society, Ifemelu and Annalise Keating feel forced to strighten their hair or wear wigs. I will also discuss how the myth of the melting pot has contributed, since the 18th century, to shape and influence ethnic identities in the US by positing the necessary features of Americanness. Instead, these twenty-first century narratives provocatively challenge the definition of American by giving an inside perspective on this unusual form of emancipation.