With the opportunity to go to prom, a young man wants to look nice, but with an afro and a desire for waves, he can’t just go anywhere, so to an unfamiliar barbershop he goes.

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With the opportunity to go to prom, a young man wants to look nice, but with an afro and a desire for waves, he can’t just go anywhere, so to an unfamiliar barbershop he goes.

Director(s) Agazi Desta
Screenplay By Agazi Desta
Where Can You Watch? Tribeca Film Festival
Date Released 6/9/2021
Genre(s) Young Adult
Duration 11 Minutes
Rating Not Rated
Noted Cast
Otto Omete Anassi
Brooks Jason Dalhouse

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Film Summary

Trying to look good for his prom date, a young man decides to go into an unfamiliar barbershop – a Black one. After all, he has a 60-70s styled afro, and he wants waves. However, with the two veterans having someone in their chair, Otto risks having the new guy, Brooks, do his hair. All in hopes that, despite his inexperience, and Otto not the most vocal, he’ll get what he desires.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: The short is pretty harmless, with nothing notable to keep this from general audiences.

Cast & Character Guide

Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.


Otto (Omete Anassi) in Brooks' barber chair
Otto (Omete Anassi) in Brooks’ barber chair | Tribeca Film Festival

With a girlfriend and prom coming, Otto just wants a good haircut. Something that is made complicated by him being deaf, with a low speaking voice.


Brooks (Jason Dalhouse) getting laughed at
Brooks (Jason Dalhouse) getting laughed at | Tribeca Film Festival

A new barber trying to build clientele, willing to give Otto a free cut to sit in his chair and let him work his magic.

Review/ Commentary

This Left Me Crying

Human decency is a beautiful thing, and when it comes to Waves, Brooks reassuring Otto got me in my feelings. Now, mind you, it’s a short, so I’m filling in a few things, but a part of me believes the reason that Otto’s hair was the length it was is because dealing with barbers was a pain for Otto. Be it not getting cuts he wants, having to take his hearing aids out, or seeming rude because he has to take his aids out but doesn’t want to draw attention to his deafness. Add in he doesn’t want someone to speak for him, and, overall, it becomes a hassle.

However, with wanting to look nice for prom and his lady, he walks in hoping for the best, and Brooks delivers – all the while not giving attention to Otto being deaf. Thus, Waves gives the kind of human decency that could bring tears to your eyes.


Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

Outside of Switched at Birth, I’m not aware of any show or film that even gives a glimpse of people of color who are deaf, or specifically Black people. So when it comes to Waves, there is this glimpse of an untapped story. One dealing with Otto being a kid who may or may not have long decided to avoid barbers at all cost. Someone who, with knowing the culture of Black barbershops, maybe didn’t want to draw attention to himself or be pushed to answer questions?

So much and more can be taken from Waves, and we can only hope the story gets expanded on.

Otto and Brooks in the barbershop
Waves (2021 – Tribeca Film Festival) – Review/Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who wanted a glimpse into the experience of deaf Black youth.
This Left Me Crying
Low Points/ On The Fence

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