October 12, 2009 by The Lupie Chick
In this award winning documentary about African American culture, Chris Rock asks, “What’s your definition of good hair?” The answers are as varied as the hair itself. One woman interviewed said, “Someone that looks relaxed and nice. If your hair’s nappy, their not happy.” Chris Rock will take you back to your roots. Vanity Fair says Good Hair is “Hilarious!” Variety claims “Audiences will wig out!”
When Chris Rock’s daughter, Lola, came up to him crying and asked, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” Rock, known for making
people laugh, was baffled, and committed to finding the answer for his little girl.
Rock’s fact finding mission catapults him into a multi-country tour determined to dig deep into black community and cultures. What Rock discovers is the world of relaxers and straighteners, weaves and extensions. Celebrities Nia Long, Kerry Washington, Al Sharpton, Maya Angelou, Ice-T and more, share their personal stories in Good Hair, a Sundance Festival film.
Speaking of Relaxers and Straighteners, these harsh chemicals – sometimes referred to as “creamy crack” – are a huge money making business. It’s not unheard of for a treatment costing $5000.00 or more.
Horror stories of chemical burns and hair loss. This practice of straightening, relaxing and totally changing a black woman’s hair has been described as a “torture session”, and one that they put themselves through time and time again to achieve the perfect look. Sodium hydroxide can burn through your skin, but these women – and men – are willing to take the risk.
There are so many pressures for black women to straighten their hair. The lighter, the brighter, the better, the prettier, they want to go like this – as Farrah Fawcett swings her head around, her golden mane flows from one side to the other – that’s how some black women perceive beautiful hair.
Just don’t touch the hair! Anyone that has gone through the grueling process of extensions and expensive weaves, will not want you to touch it. “Weave sex is awkward, just stay on top,” says one woman with a gorgeous head of hair.
The documentary isn’t all serious and straight. Although Good Hair is downright shocking and truthful in some scenes (it is a documentary after all), it’s also full of Rock’s hilarious comments, innuendos and big-hearted laughs. Human hair is India’s biggest export. Rock then goes on the streets with bags of hair and shouts, “Black Hair! Anyone want to buy some black hair?” You have to laugh at that, even though you know where it comes from.
Good Hair will be released in certain cities on Friday, October 9th, and nationwide on October 23rd.
*Good Hair is the recipient of A Special Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary.
See the official “Good Hair” Trailer here.