MILWAUKEE — Breaking a stigma one showing at a time. At the Milwaukee Film Festival, a local filmmaker premiered a short based on durags on Monday.
The durag: It’s a tool many Black men use protect their hair or get the right texture.
For many, it is cultural within the Black community from music, fashion and pro sports. But along with that, some say came a negative connotation.
“I think the stigma may have come from young Black men wearing durags,” said Justin Goodrum, the filmmaker behind the short, "Stigma of the Durag".
He recounts his own personal experiences with the head garment as inspiration.
“I go back to an experience I had in college, when one of my roommates thought I was in a gang because I wore it at night,” Goodrum said.
“At the end of the day, it’s you taking care of your hair,” said Aron Yohannes, a Milwaukee native who moved to the northwest to continue his career.
Yohannes said with moving into cities with demographics much different from Milwaukee, it took some time to get used to wearing his durag to places like the grocery store.
He’s happy to see another local addressing the stigma.
“Just because you wear a durag, doesn’t mean you’re some negative person or you live a negative lifestyle or something like that. You just care about the comfort,” Yohannes said.
Now with his short premiered, Goodrum hopes this short film sparks a greater discussion about cultural diversity.
“I have cousins who, probably about 80 percent of the time when I see him, he has a durag on. I don’t want him to be stigmatized or any of the youth to be stigmatized,” he said.
A link to the short can be found on Milwaukee Film Festival’s website.
Goodrum’s initial profile with local independent journalist Nyesha Stone of Carvd N Stone can be found here.