Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Good Hair and a Q&A with Chris Rock

Good Hair from Ronke Adeyemi on Vimeo.
I cannot tell you how long I have been dying to see this film. Well ever since I saw the trailer in September while I was in New York about to see The September Issue. I missed a screening a few months back so I was really excited when I heard that The Ritzy were hosting a screening as well as a Q&A with Mr Chris Rock. I have no idea what has gotten into The Ritzy (they have really stepped up their events with the premiere of Why Did I Get Married last Friday and having Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson on the red carpet) but I like it. Anyway despite having a complete castrophe on my route into London from Kent (a broke down train, a rerouted one and problems on the normally reliable Victoria Line) I made it to the screening in the nick of time.
Good Hair is a documentary comedy film made by Chris Rock which he was inspired to make after a rather disturbing conversation with one of his daughters about her hair. Questioned by his five year old, Lala about why she did not have 'good hair' prompted Rock into delving into the deep rooted issues that Black women have about their hair and boy did he get a real eye opener. He found out that the Black hair industry is worth $6 billion yet Black people have very little stake in the industry apart from as consumers. He travelled to Atlanta, home to many a Black person as well as numerous hair salons, he went to LA which is the capital of the weave and also to India to see where the weaves actually come from.  He also investigated the situation with the creamy crack aka the relaxer which is used by the majority of Black women. I found this aspect of the film very interesting as it really sort of represented the legacy of African American history. The whole perception that the straighter your hair is then the more acceptable you will be in white society especially in the workplace. Hence the outcry in 2007 over the insulting comments that a former journalist at US Glamour made during a presentation on the do's and don'ts of corporate fashion. What was really scaring was the science behind the chemical relaxer and exactly what it did to your scalp. Wooo! Talk about excruciating.
Good Hair showed Chris going into a variety of salons and spoke to numerous of Black women and girls about their hair. From grown women who have been relaxing their manes, to those who don a weave and also to very young girls - one as young as six - whose mothers took them to their hairdressers to get their hair relaxed. In the space of an hour and a half, The documentary covers a heck of a lot but also keeps us laughing with Rock's hilarious commentary. He takes what is a really serious issues and keeps it really educational and entertaining at the same time. As well as Black hair officonados the film features Nia Long, Salt n Pepa, Eve, Raven Symone, Ice T, Meagan Good, Lauren London, Kerry Washington, Reverend Al Sharpton, Maya Angelou and KRS One. The film was definitely worth the wait; it was funny and at times quite sad but moreover very informative and extremely thought provoking. It really made you sit down and think about how much effect the images of women in the media effect young Black women. How destructive those images can be if they are one sided and show one example of beauty. Afterwards we were treated to a Q&A with Chris where he entertained several questions about the film. I can confirm that he is as slight in real life as he appears on the screen but is just as funny.

Good Hair will be released in the UK in June.

4 cool comments:

Tonia of Chic Modern Vintage said...

Thanks for the post, but I'm really tired of Chris Rock discussing black women and their hair. WHY?

Deborah said...

Love this!!! thank you!!!!! I can't wait till i can see good hair. it's been a long time coming. Great great article!

Harlem Loves said...

Great film. I really thought Chris did a good job with this one

Rollergirl said...

Just saw this today and loved it so came to see your thoughts as I knew you would have seen it. Glad you liked it. Didn't know who half those women were but I loved Salt n Pepa and Maya Angelou and Ice T.

I do think it's a shame that black women feel pressurised to have 'white looking' hair (ie, not 'nappy' hair), even subconsciously but I guess it's similar to women feeling they have to wear make-up. Or to look at it another way, we're conditioned to think that we look/feel better with make-up/weaves/relaxed hair because that is what society and the fashion/beauty industry promotes. It's just gone beyond fashion and become the norm. Anyway, I found the film thoroughly enlightening and entertaining!