Review: Halo at Contact “teaches us how to be better”

Young Company: Halo makes you question how you look and treat the Black community

As I walk in, one of the actors (Luna who plays Becca) asks me what I am having done.

As the show is also called Hair Low and is based heavily on hair it is a nice twist of welcoming me and other guests to the show.

I make my way to my seat after we have a discussion of whether or not to shave my hair off. The show does not start straight away at half seven but
the actors are acting around us, with two of them on stage.

The stage is set up with three salon chairs and ring lights, all of which is centre stage. The screen behind the stage has the words Hair Low on it and not Halo, which has me terribly confused but I understand once the show begins.

The show is inspired by the Halo Code & which is a campaign pledge, signed by schools and businesses, that promises members of the black community that they have the “freedom and security to wear all afro-hairstyles without restriction or judgement.”

This includes any child who wishes to wear their hair however they choose to in school.

“As stated on the official Contact website. It is also a response to Emma Dabiri’s book titled Don’t Touch My Hair and Solange Knowle’s song of the same title.

Throughout the show they mention different aspects of life which Black people live through day by day but we are too blinded to see it because we are in a way, the problem. One instance, they talk about the n word and how a white person would bleep it out in front of a Black person to be kind or sweet but would not mind saying it otherwise.

But then this white person would expect a Black person to say the word and claim, ‘It’s your word. You should say it.’

Yet, the purpose of that moment is that this word was used to oppress and if they do not want to say it, does that make them less Black than another? This is the moment where I thought about the real weight of the word.

Keisha Thompson is the artistic director of this show with Al Conteh being brought on as assistant director.

“The Halo Code is closely aligned with my mission, and I’m personally invested in protecting the rights of our community to wear culturally specific hairstyles, such as the afro, with restriction or judgement.”

Keisha Thompson says as stated on the Contact website.

One of the highlights for me is when Remiel, (Played by TJ) explains to Joy why they have no hair. The poem is excellent and it hits you and makes you wonder if you were ever one of those people who gawk and stare at African hairstyles.

They also have cheeky one liners and those are delivered fantastically. They are very sassy and that is hard to pull off but they did it without it seeming cringey.

The script is shown on the screen behind the actors and I find that a very cool concept but it is very distracting and all the actors went off script at one point. It would have been really intriguing had they not gone off script.

All in all, Halo teaches us about Black hairstyles and how we can be better.

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