Good Hair

Good Hair 202x300 - Good Hair“A woman’s hair is her glory.” Maya Angelou says it in Good Hair and it’s an idea that goes back to biblical times. So no wonder so many women are obsessed with their hair. But what exactly is “good hair”? That’s the question comedian Chris Rock asks in his documentary and the answers he gets are hilarious, informative and sometimes political commentary – Reverend Al Sharpton talks about wearing your economic oppression on your head and comedian Paul Mooney says, “If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.”

Rock went into beauty salons and barbershops to talk to “regular folks” and interviewed actresses, singers and even poet Angelou about black women and their hair. Now, I’ve heard my African American girlfriends talk about their hair and what they do to it before, but as a white woman not involved in the hair industry, I never realized the amount of time, money and often pain, it takes to get and maintain what some people call “good hair.”

For a lot of people in the black community, “good hair” has always meant straight, silky hair. As actress Nia Long put it, “The lighter, the brighter, the better.” So there are some social issues to be explored here but Rock doesn’t delve too deeply into them, and he does presents a rather one-sided case. I’m sure there are many, many black women who think “natural” hair is “good hair” and proudly forgo relaxers and weaves. But we didn’t hear from many of them in the movie. Still it does raise some interesting questions. One good one: why are there so few African-American owned hair product companies when it’s a multi-billion dollar market?

Rock presents some surprising facts that will make you ask questions and elicits some shockingly honest responses to the questions he asks. The movie will surely spark conversation and debate. But Good Hair is social-commentary lite. It makes you think, but not too hard and you’ll be laughing the whole way – after all he is a comedian.

1 Comments

  1. Ankh1, October 13, 2009:

    Good review. I was led to it from Twitter. I’ve seen his film and you’re right he left out alot of the important stuff film which is why many black women are pissed with him. Our hairstory is sooo different from everyone else’s in this country. And we expected him to come correct in portraying our story fully not make a joke of us. But like you said he’s comedian, and the studios want a film that’s mainstream not culturally correct. That said there’s another film called “My Nappy ROOTS”. As a filmmaker I saw a screening of it some years ago. It gives a better understanding of the black hair care story including the REAL business story like how “Soul Train” was funded by the black hair care industry and helped put in on the air. I found its facebook page and there are clips on YouTube too.

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