“Hairspray”. More often than not associated with the musical adaption film starring John Travolta, Hairspray is in fact a grooming product which stiffens hair into a certain style, and it can be dispensed from a pump or aerosol can.
Na, I’m just playing with you. I am going to talk about “Hairspray”, though, but in its musical format; namely the 2007 remake, which I watched last night. The musical is in fact incredible, the music so popular and defining of 1950-60s culture. Personally, I love the fashion of those decades: the full skirts, the swing dresses, the full skirts, the shoes… oh, did I mention the full skirts?
However, as much as I’d love to write an entire post on that, I’m going to talk about the main messages given in the story.
“Hairspray” is the story of one ‘chubby’ girl’s fight for justice through the medium of dance and song. Tracy Turnblad, the daughter of John Travolta’s brilliant ‘Edna Turnblad’, is a young girl with a big dream. Her utmost desire is to have a place on the “Corny Collins Show”: a dance show which showcases the latest music of the early 60s. Once she earns a place on that show, she expresses her wish for everyday to be ‘Negro Day’, as she thoroughly enjoys their music. However, during the days of segregation and racial discrimination in America, this causes quite a stir, and the derogatory owner wants Tracy off the show. But she persists in her protests, even once ‘Negro Day’ is cancelled, going on a march with the members of the ‘Negro Day Council’. After being accused of ‘assaulting’ a Police Officer, she becomes a fugitive, and the only way to make her views known is through the song ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’. The song itself is so easy to identify with- the lyrics are so motivating and anyone can connect with them.
‘Yet, why is this so inspiring?’ you may ask. Well, in my humble opinion, it is Tracy’s defiance against the mistreatment of those who are different. She herself is different from her peers, but she doesn’t care- she goes on racing after her dreams, and her perseverance is fruitful: she gets the place on the show she’s always wanted, and she manages to make the “Corny Collins Show” integrated rather than segregated, as it was before. Although it is a classic success story, it is one of the most eye opening pieces of fiction I have seen in a long time, especially as it is a musical (no disrespect to musicals, I assure you!). The quote that was the most bold for me was the following:
“I think I’ve kind of been in a bubble… thinking fairness was gonna just happen. It’s not. People like me are gonna have to get up off their fathers’ laps and go out and fight for it.”
-Tracy Turnblad, Hairspray (2007)
Boldness is better. It gives everyone the fuel to speak up about what we believe in and act on our views. It is this kind of thing that we need to keep us going, It is this kind of thing that makes us the human race; ever evolving, ever changing, ever developing. We need this to do what we are supposed to do.
I hope fiction has inspired you once more.