Last week I sat down to watch the screening of the much talked-about Chris Rock documentary titled: “Good Hair”. Mr. Rock first delved into making the documentary after a conversation with his daughter who stated: “Daddy how come I don’t have good hair.” He proceeds to take America on a tour of the intricacies of the Black woman’s hair saga. In true Chris Rock fashion, he visits beauty salons, talks with hairstylists, celebrities such as Nia Long, Raven Symone, Ice-T, Salt n Pepa to Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Maya Angelou and the explores the Bronner Brothers Hair Show Royal as well as the mega conglomerate Dudley’s. He utilizes such humor and sarcasm to discuss the breakdown of perms, weaves and the meaning behind the term: good hair.
Please don’t get me wrong; I thought some aspects of the film were hilarious and true such as you cannot touch a Black woman’s freshly done mane, the overdone materialism expressed in the film is disconcerting. As I continued to watch the flick I realized the stereotypes portrayed and the depiction of women ready to risk their rent money or a fully stocked refrigerator for a good weave, subject their young daughters (2+ years old) to the chemicals of a perm, “subsidize” their income for a $2000 hairdo, or put hair on layaway is not only ridiculous but does not illustrate the number of women in society who would never do such nonsense. While viewing the film, I wondered how many people outside our racial community would believe that all Black women behave in such an irresponsible manner.
The film showed a small fraction of society and I’m sure part of that reasoning is for more anecdotal influence and makes the best ratings. What was the most disturbing is our lack of ownership for a market that is mostly African-American. As Chris journeys across the ocean to India, where 85% of human hair is sacrificed for religious purposes (hair is seen as vanity in India) to the hair capital of the world Los Angeles, New York and back to the ATL, he explores the abundance of capitalism connected to the hair industry. Nine billion dollars are earned every year and with only about four exclusive black hair companies in existence, the multi-billion dollar profits are going into the hands of Asians, Europeans and Indians. As a race, we place so much emphasis on our hair and invest dollars into this market and therefore it makes no sense that we do not reap some of the profits. Why is it that there are only 4 major Black companies that own stock in the hair industry? Why are we constantly making others outside our community rich while we remain bankrupt?
As Black women we are diverse, trend-setters. Whether we have natural, straight, curly hair or weaves, we express ourselves through our hair. As descendants of queens such as Nefertiti to Cleopatra, the use of wigs and ornaments to adorn ourselves is a part of our rich ancestry. Why has it now taking on new meaning?
What is your opinion of the Good Hair documentary? Do you believe its representative of all Black women in America? How do you relate to the term “Good hair”? Are you a natural or weave woman? Do you love to change your tresses to express your own individual style? What does your man love about your hair? Have you ever sacrificed a need in order to get that $3500 weave?