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Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair is over a decade previous, but it surely’s nonetheless an interesting have a look at a posh side of Blackness. It’s additionally one of the crucial vital movies in Rock’s lengthy profession. The movie matches his fashion of coping with delicate subjects in an trustworthy and humorous approach.
Good Hair tackles head-on the problem of how Black girls’s hair decisions are sometimes formed by Eurocentric magnificence requirements—so many people consider the straighter and lighter, the higher. Girls discuss how they should combat to put on their hair in pure methods, particularly in the event that they’re in a profession that places them in entrance of cameras. These are the types of issues that aren’t typically stated out loud, however Rock dives in with sufficient candor and humor to make these tough topics extra discussable.
All through Good Hair, Rock sits with a big refrain of lovely, well-known Black girls—together with Maya Angelou, Nia Lengthy, Melyssa Ford, Lauren London and Meagan Good—and he will get all of them to talk about their hair routines and their hair goals. Angelou says, “Hair is a girl’s glory,” as she describes how a girl’s lengthy hair is one thing for her household to take pleasure in.
However others discuss how a lot they pay for weaves and the way photos of Beyoncé and others led them to need straight hair regardless that attaining that’s painful and exhausting—relaxer is a chemical that flattens curls and naps. It kills the Africanoid impulses of our hair. Is it apropos that the corporate that dominates the relaxer market is positioned in a metropolis that was as soon as the capital of the confederacy? That firm is owned by a Black man, however as Rock dives deeper into the economics of hair, we uncover that there are only a few Black folks cashing in on the big amount of cash Black folks spend on hair and merchandise. The overwhelming majority of the cash we spend on hair goes into Asian pockets.
Rock’s documentary is a worldwide have a look at the hair trade—he begins in New York hair salons however then travels to India, the place most American weave hair originates. He goes to a temple the place girls lower off their lengthy hair as a sacrifice, a part of their prayer for God’s blessings. In crucial and memorable a part of the doc, he humanizes and provides that means to the hair that so many people braid into our heads, but it surely doesn’t depart you feeling responsible. Girls in India shave their heads willingly and for high-minded causes. Their alternative helps enrich their temple, they usually really feel empowered and nearer to God once they’re bald.
Then Rock leaps to Compton, Calif., for some silliness as a result of the comedian in him must leaven the seriousness of the journey to India. In a comedic sketch, he travels round making an attempt to promote Black hair, and naturally, he fails. Nobody desires to purchase Black hair. It could be a laugh-to-keep-from-crying second for many individuals, however it could additionally remind others how little the world appreciates actual Black our bodies.
Rock finishes his journey in Atlanta at an epic hair present the place a number of the nation’s most gifted, inventive and dramatic hairstylists do hair onstage in loopy conditions. However in the long run, that is all a love letter to Rock’s two daughters. We begin with him speaking about them and finish with him speaking by the movie to them. It’s a stunning, trustworthy and private bookend to this journey. Rock’s message to them brings house that this movie isn’t just about entertaining and informing. It’s a part of his work as a father to Black ladies who want reassuring and love in a world that’s continuously telling them that their nappy hair isn’t good hair. It is a highly effective documentary that continues to be related to today.