MPI Acquires Rights for the Next MPI Original Feature Film
March 10, 2020
The Moving Picture Institute has acquired the life story rights of fearless entrepreneur Melony Armstrong for our next MPI Original feature film. Pre-production is underway on the project, which tells the inspirational story of Melony’s fight against a powerful cartel and the state of Mississippi to gain financial independence for herself and countless other women like her.
A motivated entrepreneur, Melony began her natural hair braiding business in her home and grew it into a professional brick-and-mortar salon and hair braiding academy that trains hundreds of other aspiring entrepreneurs in the art. To accomplish this, Melony had to spend more than 2,000 hours in state-mandated training to obtain her cosmetology licenses—a system built by the powerful cosmetology lobby. In total, she was required to take more classroom hours to gain her cosmetology license than she would have been to become a firefighter or police officer.
Seeing this as a significant roadblock to women, especially those of color, Melony helped file the civil right lawsuit that brought an end to the cosmetology industry’s stranglehold on this community. She spent countless hours traveling back and forth to the state capital to plead her case and argue for rights of women like her who want to start their own hair braiding businesses. Melony’s perseverance paid off. Legislation was passed eliminating the burdensome training requirements, and empowering other entrepreneurial women to start their own businesses by paying a mere $25 licensing fee. Since that time, more than 4,000 jobs and hundreds of first-time entrepreneurs have emerged in Mississippi and beyond.
“I am excited for the Moving Picture Institute to tell my story of persistence in the face of a modern day David and Goliath story, where a small business woman faces big government and wins, all in the pursuit of the American dream to build a successful business,” says Melony. “My hope is that this film will motivate others to rise up and achieve their dreams of entrepreneurship.”