Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good Hair

So i saw "Good Hair" this weekend. For those who don't know I am referring to the new Chris Rock movie. Please see below ...

This is a movie that covers a very sensitive issue in the black community. As a man hair has not really played a very big role in my life. That being said like all men I do have women in my life (my wife, mother, sister, etc ...). For those who don't know allow me to explain.

"Good Hair" has traditionally meant hair that is straighter and more closely resembling that of a white person. Conversely, "Bad Hair" is hair that is considered coarser or with a much tighter curl. Generally, speaking most (but not all) black people who would fall into the "good hair" category are those of mixed ethnicity. In the quest to get good hair many black women apply relaxers (a chemical that straightens hair), attach weaves or use various types of Hot combs or flat irons straighten their hair.

Chris Rock says that the reason he made this movie is because one of his daughters asked him why she didn't have "good hair"? So he decided to make a movie about the subject. He investigates relaxer factories and various hair salons and even travels to India where one of their primary exports is human hair that is then used in weaves and hair extensions.

The reason this issue is contentious is that many people in the black community feel that this information is not something that should not be publicly discussed. As for me ... I don't see what the big f'n deal is. White women don't change the nature of their hair in the same way that relaxer changes the nature of a black woman's hair. However, I honestly do not know the last time I saw a white women with the actual hair color they were born with. Many black women feel they need the long flowing hair in order to compete and look professional. There are lots of parts of the female body I am interested in but hair falls pretty low on my list of priorities. And the truth is long hair is not really something you want if your goal is to succeed in corporate Canada/America. I work for a large bank now and the women who have climbed the ladder and are in positions of power all have very short hair, i mean just about ear level or something approaching a pixie cut. The women at the lower levels all have the long flowing hair. Obviously their having short hair isn't the reason for their promotions but it does disprove the need for really long hair.

My wife, mother and sister all have natural (as in unprocessed) hair. So for me that is the norm. But in general i think more women need to embrace their natural hair. I don't really have any strong emotions toward this movie.

The movie was a hit and miss affair for me. I would only recommend it if you have some knowledge or interest in the topic before hand.


Nads said...

That was a good review of the issue and a clear explanation as well. I enjoyed the movie - it was hilarious but sad - but felt it should have gone deeper into the why the need for good hair question. I also thought that the diversity and manageability of natural hair should have been featured way more. The only mention was the 1 girl with the afro whose friends said how she wouldn't be taken seriously if she went for an interview. Huh? Anyway, I enoyed seeing the natural star tracie thoms and hope the other lost and damaged wigged, weaved and straightened stars find themselves sooner rather than later. Oh and as for the point of view that this topic should be 'for black eyes only'. Nonsense. I don't know why certain blacks are so worried about what non-blacks think. And frankly, I don't think non-blacks are sitting around thinking/wondering about blacks' hair. I guess it's all part of the damaged psyche to worry about things like this.

Renee said...

I still want my twenty-four dollars back. I hated every single minute of that movie and thought that it was coonery central. I will not vent on your blog, as I have already written my own review of this hot mess but I will say shame on Chris Rock.

JAW said...

Long hair tends to be popular among pre kids women. Most pre kids women/men do not have enough experience to be senior at a company.

As you excellently point out most women have an issue with their appearance in one way or another. Is the fact that for many black women (and some white women) that issue is curly hair really important?

Surely if there is any issue it might be that men are judged by income/success and women are judged by appearance? Are either really a true judge of character?