Good Hair Reviews
Presented and narrated by comedian/actor Chris Rock, who decided to do this documentary after his young daughter asked him, "Why din't I have good hair?", Rock interviews a number of celebrities, business owners, and casual people as he tries to figure out the obsession with hair culture.
It is amusing, but there are some serious undertones, specifically the incredibly dangerous effects of using various chemicals, specifically relaxer to give someone straight hair.
There is some deeper subtext buried within the proceedings, but the film and Rock himself oddly shy away from asking the really important, but tough questions that really get to the hair of the issue, namely exactly why it is so important for black women to have 'white' hair.
That's what keeps the film from being really great. It is a good intro to the subject, and it covers a lot of bases, but it really doesn't scratch the surface, and also neglects to look at parts of history that could have really given a lot more insight as well as answers. I personally want to know how Civil Rights and Black Power affected the hair issue, and see the development of why it evolved away from that.
I'm okay with levity, but I think the film took too much of a diversion by putting a lot of focus on the ridiculously absurd hair competition, and not enough focus on the darker side of things. I mean yeah, the competition still reveals how big of an economic impact black hair makes on the hair care industry, but still, it gets pretty absurd.
Overall though, I did like this. It is a very fascinating topic, and, despite the film's faults, I do think you should give it a watch. Rock does a decent job and tackling a rather tricky issue. I think Spike Lee could have given it the kind of treatment I was expecting, but then again, he may have taken it a bit too far for my liking in that direction as well. Anyways, give it a look. It's pretty decent.
And occasionally "Good Hair" has some insightful thoughts on black identity and how ideas of black beauty are formed from white models.(That's not to mention the helpful hints on how to make love to a woman who has hair weaves.) However, I disagree with Rock when he says it is all racial. Yes, only about 5% of black owned companies make weaves which start at $1,000 but is it any better when they are in charge of such an exorbitant business, putting people into debt as a result? In any case, this is simply basic capitalism in getting people to buy something they don't need.(Nor is it addiction, since there is no pleasure involved.) While Chris Rock interviews notables such as Maya Angelou and Al "The Dalai Lama of Relaxer" Sharpton, a lot of the other interview subjects are young black female entertainers who talk about their own issues with hair. But Rock does not probe deeply which is a shame since they are cultural trendsetters and could steer some impressionable young black women back towards agreeing with Tracie Thoms when she says "natural hair is freedom." Or no hair, for that matter.
Sounds bland and boring? Well I can tell you it isnt, Rocks narative and interview style keep this very funny and interesting and some of the guests have genuinely serious points. Ice-T and the Al Sharpton were two that jumped out for me with Ice-T in pariticular giving a real down to earth, truthfull view that had me howling with laughter at times.
I feel like the criticism towards Rock was unwarranted. This fear of "airing dirty laundry" or whatever. Its a discussion that needs to be had. It didn't make me feel embarrassed or ashamed, just more self-aware. I'm SO glad Rock made this film and it will definitely be added to my film library when the DVD comes out!
We follow Chris Rock through the barber shops and hair salons, through the places in India where hair is collected for wigs, all as he examines the major industry of African-American hair care and what people are willing to do to themselves to look 'good'.
Well worth a look, recommended.