Recommended by a good friend, this is an insightful, amusing, and rather fascinating documentary about the world of hair, specifically the hair of black women, and its important role in African American culture.
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.