Comedian Chris Rock explains to the audience that the idea to make a documentary about the subject of “good hair” came from his young daughter, Lola, who cried to him and asked, “Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?” Rock takes a humorous Michael Moore type of approach to solve the riddle of why African-American women suffer through chemicals, hot combs and permanent skin damage in the quest for a head of perfect “good hair.” The film was awarded A Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was produced by Chris Rock and Nelson George who are both African-American. However, the film is directed by Jeff Stilson who is not African-American but a Caucasian male. Ironically it was Chris Rock who has been the only face of this film that was slapped with a 5 million dollar lawsuit.
Good Hair ft. Chris Rock- HD Official Trailer
Some people may wonder about the humorous approach taken by Chris Rock about a taboo subject discussing African-American women's hair, sexual relationships and self esteem. Highschool dropout and GED educated Rock is not a specialist on the subject but he speaks to several experts about the mass marketing of toxic chemicals to the African-American community. Good Hair opens on October 9th and nationwide on October 23rd.
The film tries to take a personal journey with Chris Rock to explain why his daughter would believe she is less beautiful because she was born with kinky and not silken locks of hair. Many experts would argue that African-American women may lack self-esteem because they are often made to conform with unrealistic European standards of beauty.
Celebrities offer candid interviews about their personal weave experiences and addiction to chemical relaxers which are jokingly referred to as “the creamy crack”. Chris Rock never makes himself the butt of any jokes by admitting that he used to submit his own hair to a Jheri Curl chemical process in the 90's. Chris Rock made a “Good Hair” promo tour to promote his film which included a stop on Oprah Winfrey's couch. The comedian fleeced Oprah's hair and submitted her to a humiliating public hand to hair comb down to prove she didn't have any weave tracks in her hair. Would Chris Rock have submitted a sex symbol like Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian or Paris Hilton to the same level of scrutiny on national television?
During the show Rock later admitted under duress that he used to relax his own hair and tried to make a joke about blaming it on Michael Jackson. If the funny man had offered up himself as the focus of some of his own jokes he would not be able to effectively make Prince jokes and a reference to Reverend Al Sharpton in the film as the “Dalai Lama of Relaxer”.
“Good Hair” presents valid arguments about the dangers of relaxing an African-American child's hair with harmful kiddie perms and the potenital psychological damage to a young child's psyche. Celebrities such as Nia Long, Lauren London and Megan Goode are honest about their use of hair extensions. We as African-American women are constantly bombarded with European standards of beauty. African-American women are often ridiculed as not being pretty enough or beautiful and “trying to be fake” if they make any use of European beauty products to make themselves feel and look aesthetically attractive.
Starlets like Paris Hilton,Ashlee Simpson, Jessica Simpson, Hayden Panettierre and Lindsay Lohan have the luxury in Hollywood of having one hair color or hair length one day and a completely different hairstyle the next day without anyone questioning if they are less beautiful because they are wearing hair extensions or have dyed their hair an extreme shade of red or bottle blonde.
Unfortuntely, we like many African-American women have our own personal horror stories about the dangers of chemical relaxers. Too many woman have experienced first hand the pain of a hot hair comb burning their necks and ears or the extreme effects of a relaxer scarring scalps with blistering boils. What is the end result of the pain if this movie promotes making fun of African-American women? African-American are only subjecting themselves to this level of pain to make themselves more attractive to African-American men.
We laughed during the film as hairdressers prepared for the Atlanta hair show event which was showcased as a haircare Olympics. The inside hair stories about weave sex and where men are supposed to put their hands during the act of love making if their not allowed to caress their woman's hair are also worth the price of admission to the film.
African-American women don't all want to look like Barbie dolls. Now beautiful African-American women like Michelle Obama are global role models for a new generation. Michelle Obama has accomplished so many things by being herself and not perpetuating the unattractive African-American “mammy” stereotype which has been showcased in Hollywood for centuries. Michelle Obama is an asset to improving the public image of African-American women as having the capacity to be beautiful, graceful and intelligent. America hasn't seen a character like Mrs. O since Mrs. Huxtable on the Cosby show was featured almost daily in America's living rooms.
The lack of ethnic diversity showcased on the big and small screen seems to be one reason why A-list actresses have submitted their embarrasing hair stories to gain screen time and garner some film credits. Nia Long became a Hollywood sex symbol after she starred in hits like Boyz in the Hood, Friday and Love Jones which featured predominately African-American casts. It is disappointing that the films like Love and Basketball and ATL that made African-American actresses like Nia Long, Gabrielle Union, Lauren London and Sanaa Lathan household names are no longer being made by the big and small studios. We understand that part African-American and Caucasian multiracial beauties like Halle Berry and Thandie Newton have been the common standards for how all African-American women should aspire to look.
The African-American community made a conscious effort to call for more ethnic beauties which resulted in models like Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Iman, Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn having careers. Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn have recently been featured on the cover of Teen Vogue magazine.
The film “Good Hair” tackles the subject of beauty and makes the moral of the film that Rock's two daughters should love themselves and their natural African-American hair. It would have been great if Chris Rock included his own hair relaxer experiences in the movie. Rock's hair stories would have been an excellent teaching tool as an African-American male to tell his daughters that he wouldn't want his children to relax their hair because he has had first hand experience with the pain of “creamy crack” addiction. There is brief mention about Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson wearing hair extensions but the main focus of the film is to demonstrate how African-American women are submitting their scalps to perms and weaves. It would have been enlightening if some images of women from other ethnic backgrounds undergoing weaves and hair dyes were included too. Oprah delved deeper into the subject about all women's quest for “Good Hair” by showing white women who confessed they did not know their natural hair color.
A photo of Kardashian's sister, Kourtney Kardashian, getting her weave sewn in has caused shockwaves as it has reverberated though the internet and gone viral. Everyone knows that African-American women sometimes get weaves. It's the fact that some white women get weaves too that has piqued the interests of African-American women who view the Kardashian weave stitch photo. We don't suggest that white women watch the film “Good Hair” and use that as an excuse to question African-American women about their personal hair routines. If they do seek the opportunity to use the film to laugh at African-American women then they will not be met with a joyous response by all African-American women.
The film “Good Hair” has opened up new topics of dialogue between the races that is an unspoken feeling by some African-American women that some African-American men may find Caucasian women more attractive because they have long flowing silken hair. One of Oprah's viewers mentioned the subject on a recap show that she felt that white women use their hair as a sexual advantage to lure African-American men. Chris Rock's documentary did not mention that there are other measures that women take to make themselves more attractive including submitting themselves to plastic surgery. There are also some African-American women who believe that some Caucasian women are willing to undergo lip injections and butt implants to compete with what African-American women's ethnic features like their naturally full lips and apple bottoms. Here are some comments from the Oprah Winfrey's website.
The subject of black hair is a controversial and sensitive subject for many black women, due to the historical and contemporary issues surrounding race, gender, and male-female relationships in America. Instead of the hair issue being discussed within this context to promote understanding, the hour was spent exposing black women's beauty secrets and criticizing our hair choices. I don't see men of other cultures exploiting, explaining, or critiquing their female counterparts. I have yet to see a white male on TV speaking publicly or critically about a white female's choice to bleach her hair, wear extensions, tan her skin, get implants, face lifts etc. Why then are black women exploited for ratings? If you want to understand the damage that the show has caused, listen to the comments made about "good hair" in the broader media. The commentators on Entertainment Tonight are referring to relaxers as "creamy crack". Was this really the key learning objective of the show? If Mr. Rock's goal was to educate viewers or himself about the black female's struggle to gain acceptance for her standard of beauty, he totally missed the mark! However, he gets an A+ for grins and giggles at the black woman's expense! In a word - SHAMEFUL!
I love Chris Rock and Oprah & the hair conversation is very important. However, I must say I was disappointed. Chris putting his fingers through Oprah's hair like long hair is the best hair. I was born with long hair too. But I believe that Blk hair is good hair. It tends to have an ovary shaft that prevents us from getting lice. It's tight curls give us protection from the sun rays. The hair was short to keep us from overheating. Our hair is remarkably designed & it has served us well because it protected us from the elements. I believe that we have been seriously brainwashed. I wish we would gain some self-esteem as women & save our money. We could wisely used the money & send our children to college. Many blks have been taught lite colored skin and long hair is the best. For centuries and even today, many brainwashed brothers have seeked other woman because of their hair & skin color. Many Asian women go through eye operations and dye their hair blond to look European. White women suffer too with lower self-esteem because of a multimillion dollar beauty industry. All women are told they have deficits and they are sent on a shallow quest for beauty; tanning their skin, perming and dyeing their hair. These beauty treatments are costly and can be damaging to our bodies. Please women of the world, you are beautiful; gain some self esteem and dignity. The beauty industry wants $, they don't have you interest at heart.
Dear Oprah one thing that probably wasn't in the movie Good Hair that Chris might not have known. In addition to white women putting in extensions in their hair to full it out and add length, contrary to what ALL people think, WHITE WOMEN DO GET WEAVES TOO! If all of the black women in America listened to Allie's piece about dying their hair they to are not comfortable with their hair either that is why they ALL DYE THEIR HAIR BLONDE so they can look prettier. I know this about white women getting weaves because I use to sit right there in an upscale salon in NYC and I was SHOCKED to see what I was seeing. So all black women of America calm down and you too can ask the question is that your hair too, to white women as they might ask that of you. Love who you are and do yoou!
We recommend the film “Good Hair” for anyone who is curious about the extent of damage that hair relaxer can do to someone's lungs or a coke can. We don't suggest that White women or women from other ethnic backgrounds who are unfamiliar with the African-American female and her beauty regimine should view the film as an opportunity to step to Black women to subject them to ridicule and make fun of them. If you do then expect to get yours because you would be asking for it.
We hope that African-American women are able to understand that we are beautiful. It would be a shame if African-American Hollywood actresses like Nia Long are further scrutinzed because they wear hair extensions and not their own “good hair” during a photo shoot for a magazine cover like Essence Magazine. We also applaud African-American women like India Arie and Solange who are showing their beauty by sporting their natural hair. We too believe that everyone has “good hair”.
Here is a sampling of other reviews on the subject
* Rock has helped craft a film with "much good feeling and instinctive sympathy for our desire to look as good as we can," Roger Ebert writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. Still, the doc is "misleading" about certain things, like the ingredients in hair relaxer, prompting Ebert to wonder: "Why do I know more about this subject than Chris Rock?"
* Rock's greatest gift is his easy engagement with a subject that is foreign to some likely viewers. He "balances a story that could easily be too specific or agenda-pushing," Clay Cane writes for BET. "With his style of humor and wit, even if you can’t relate to Good Hair, you will be informed, laugh and come away with sensitivity to the African-American experience."
* Hack chemistry aside, the "affable" Good Hair sidesteps intriguing social issues, Melissa Anderson writes in the Village Voice. Many of the funnier interactions (see: Nia Long remarking that "weave sex is a little awkward") simply remind the viewer of the "gender politics that remain vigorously unexamined in this breezy, superficial doc."
Binside TV Rating : B
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