Hot Irons

Director: Andrew Dosunmu
Country: USA
Year: 1998
Running Time: 50 min.
Language: English

hot irons

In Detroit, hair styling isn’t just a matter of personal grooming, it’s a way of life, and Andrew Dosunmu’s documentary Hot Irons offers an inside glimpse at Motor City hair salons that turn the tresses of their African-American clientele into remarkable works of art. Dosunmu takes his cameras to Detroit’s annual “Hair Wars” competition, in which stylists compete to see who can create the wildest and most outrageous hairdo. Offering a stark contrast between the unique aesthetic of the stylists and the grinding poverty of inner city Detroit, which never fully recovered from the 1968 riots, Hot Irons shows how events like “Hair Wars” brings a sense of art and purpose to a community where both are often lacking.

About the Director

Andrew Dosunmu

Biography: Raised and educated in Nigeria, Andrew Dosunmu began his career as a design assistant at the fashion house of Yves Saint-Laurent. He has subsequently worked as a Creative Director and fashion photographer, whose images have appeared in a variety of international magazines. Besides a flourishing career in photography, Dosunmu is also active in film and television. His award-winning documentary Hot Irons (1998) won best documentary at FESPACO and Reel Award at Toronto. In South Africa, Dosunmu has directed episodes of the widely acclaimed television series Yizo Yizo which dramatizes the policy debates around education in post-apartheid South Africa through a frank presentation of the social crises and conflicts at a Johannesburg high school. Dosunmu has also served as creative director for album covers (for such artists as Erykah Badu and Public Enemy), and directed music videos, including his first for Isaac Hayes, Angie Stone, Common, Wyclef Jean, Kelis, Aaron Neville, Maxwell, Tracy Chapman and Talib Kweli. Dosunmu was selected to participate in the photography exhibition Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary Photography at the International Center of Photography. In 2007, Dosunmu was honored with the request to speak at the TED Global conference. Restless City (2010) was Dosunmu’s first feature film endeavor. It was followed in 2013 by Mother of George.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Hot Irons (1999, 2000);
La Momie (1999);
Yizo Yizo (2004);
Restless City (2011, 2012).

Hot Irons (1998);
La Momie (1999);
Yizo Yizo (2004);
Restless City (2010);
Mother of George (2013).