You have been there…its humid and your hair is uncontrollable. You have straight hair that won’t stay curled or curly hair that won’t stay straight. You are having a BAD HAIR DAY. But you haven’t experienced a ‘bad hair day‘ until you have walked a mile in the shoes of a Black women.
Hair is our joy and pain. We plan our lives around our hair. I have a friend who told her perspective employer that she would accept the job under the condition that she could leave work early for her standing hair appointment. We spend thousands of dollars and even more time on our hair. All in order to have what is called “good hair” or long straight, more European-looking hair.
The Search For Good Hair
That is the premise of Chris Rock’s very funny documentary, Good Hair. In his own comic style, Rock examines the cultural and economic implications of our struggle to have the long straight hair we see on TV and movies.
Do Not Touch The Hair
Please don’t ask us to go swimming, camping or anything else that will endanger ‘The Do‘. It reminds me of the scene in Something New when that cutie Simon Baker asks Sanaa Lathan to go for a nature walk. Just as he was about to kiss her, it begins to rain. In any other movie, this would be a romantic moment, but the first thing she says is, MY HAIR!!!”. Rule #1: Do not get the hair wet. One thing you have to know about most Black women is that our hair is a semi-precious thing. It takes hours to prepare and large amounts of money to maintain. Therefore it is 100% hands off!
In Good Hair, Chris Rock interviews Maya Angelou, Eve Nia Long, Raven Simone, Tracy Thoms and Kerry Washington who reveal their own hair secrets, problems and anxieties. To relax or not to relax? It that a weave or your natural hair? And why do we obsess so much about our hair?
Rock visits neighborhood beauty salons, barber shops and the famous Bonner Hair Show in Atlanta to examine that question. A lot of time is spent talking about relaxers (chemical hair straighteners) and the reasons why some women endure the problems and pain, in order to have straight hair. Shirley ‘Peppa’ Riley even reveals the origin of her famous asymmetrical hair style was the result of a bad relaxer. It’s almost funny, I mean really who hasn’t had their hair burned off by a caustic chemical before? Is it a cultural thing or do they do it just to be fashionable? Who can say? I am too lazy to get up an hour early to mess with my hair, so I go natural.
He also travels to India, the source of a large percentage of the human hair used in weaves (extensions) in the United States. Little did we know that this much sought after and expensive hair is donated as a religious sacrifice to temples by poor women all over India. Do you think they have any idea that their hair is flowing down the backs of rock stars, teachers, doctors and sales clerks in this country?