Starring: Chris Rock
Director: Jeff Stilson
Every man, woman and child has an opinion as to whether they have good hair or not. Maybe it’s been told to them or they just know from years of trying to work with it. No single group of people are more invested in what their hair looks like than the African-American community.
Comedian Chris Rock decided to tackle the issue of why hair is so important and such a lucrative business in Good Hair. He centers the hair debate around his two young daughters and what it is he is supposed to tell them when it comes to why their hair is different.
Rock uses a variety of people from actors to executives to tell his story. His interviews include actresses Nia Long and Raven-Symoné, musical group Salt-n-Pepa, Rev. Al Sharpton and Dr. Maya Angelou, among others. Every person had a different opinion on what it is to have good hair. Some prefer to go au naturel, where others live by the weave. Among the varieties of styles, Rock focuses on relaxers and weaves. He also focuses heavily on the Atlanta, GA Bronner Bros. hair convention.
As Rock addresses the beginnings of the relaxer, he learns more about it than he bargained for. Not only does it contain a chemical that burns your skin, he learns of children as young as three years old being subjected to the process of straightening the hair. Always the funny man, Rock asked various women what was more painful: childbirth or getting a relaxer? Relaxers aren’t just for the females either, many men have used them over the years too.
The making and selling of weaves is a very profitable business. There are different products and different ways of wearing the weave. Many women across America are spending upwards of $1,000 to wear the hair of another. Rock also learned that some of the most sought after hair was that of Indian women. He even travels to India to see how the process of the hair business works there.
Spread throughout the documentary, Rock takes part in Atlanta’s Bronner Bros. hair show. He speaks to the four hairdressers who are competing for the top hair prize at the convention. He is amazed to see how huge this hair business can be.
Chris Rock probably learned more than he ever imagined about the process of black hair. It’s amusing to listen to these men and women talk about why a certain hairstyle is so vital to their world and self-esteem. It’s equally amusing to hear the discussion over what you do not do to a black woman’s hair. After making the doc, Rock is fairly certain he’ll never let his daughters near a hair salon.
I would recommend this film; it’s funny, informative and a little on the wacky side at times. I never would have picked Rock as someone who’d be the driving force of a documentary, but it totally worked.