Anyone seen this? I just watched it last night and really enjoyed it.
Overall, I thought it was good (though perhaps a smidge too much attention on the whole hair show in Atlanta). It was really informative. I do know a lot about how things like hair/skin color are really hot issues in the black community, but I don’t think I knew just how much money is devoted to it. Or that it mostly comes from India.
A fascinating and entertaining movie. I find I’m looking at black women’s hair more often now, especially older black women who have had to endure these horrible chemicals for decades. Strangely enough though, I see far more older white women with hair so thin you can see their scalp than black women. I’d guess it’s because coloring and perming is more damaging to hair that starts out thin (ner than black women’s hair) than straighteners used on thick sturdy hair.
I don’t know if the movie talked about white women’s passion for blonde hair, but it was discussed a little bit on Oprah. Chris Rock made a good point about how blondes don’t stand out anymore, because there are so many – and they all look alike.
The movie isn’t playing anywhere near me so it’s going on the rental list.
One thing I wished they’d done was talk to more women with natural hair. I couldn’t help thinking of Toni Morrison, partly because she has very distinctive natural hair and because she also has written so much about the white beauty standards blacks are often held up to (i.e., the Bluest Eye). Maybe they couldn’t get her? I bet she would have had a lot of good stuff to say.
I did like what Maya Angelo said, about how hair is a woman’s crowning glory, for her family/loved ones to see, but that it isn’t a good or bad thing. Or shouldn’t be, anyway.
And I also liked how the film tackled tough issues but seemed to do so with a sense of humor. Sometimes when documentary makers put themselves in movies it’s irritating. Well, I’m thinking mostly of Michael Moore. Chris Rock seemed to that with a lot more ease and grace, though. He handled the interviews well without interjecting his opinion too much but at the same time could make the funny remarks when they were called for. You don’t necessarily think “toned down” when you think of Chris Rock, but that’s how he came across to me. I’d definitely love to see his other documentaries if he makes more–he’s said he wants to, from what I’ve read.
The thing is, Rock gave the impression that he really was interested in people’s answers. He was making this for his daughters (though he probably won’t show it to them for a while - or possibly make an edit for them with the stuff about sex cut out) and wanted to answer their questions.
I saw this film and enjoyed it. I’m a 49 year old white guy and find virtually all hairstyling a mystery, but Black women’s hair doubly so. It helped me understand.
Personally, the most attractive hairstyle I’ve seen on black women is whatever you call the long and slightly relaxed look, like the way Allison Stewart wears hers. Not that anybody asked me.
gaffa, I liked that, too. From the reactions on his face when he was talking to the people, you got the sense that he really wanted to hear more. And you got the sense that even though he was laughing, he wasn’t laughing AT his subjects. Well, maybe sometimes, but not like, “Look at these crazy women and their hair ritual!” It all felt sympathetic. I could so imagine myself talking to him and feeling at ease. And despite his in your face comic persona, he’s not abrasive here at all.
I don’t really know who Allison Stewart is, but I agree that her hair is really nice.
I’ll have to go see it, especially after reading the comments here.
I’m really surprised to see the interest from other cultures and it makes me smile: grin on my face and happiness in my heart.
I’m an AA chick and I’ve been wearing locs for the last five years. My hair has gone from very short to hanging down my back in this short time.
I wore relaxers for over 20 years and the damage done was amazing. I’d have to clean the sink counter and sweep the bathroom floor every morning from split end breakage. I used a blow dryer and an electric curler every morning and my hair looked something like Oprah’s back in her big hair days. It looked great, but it was damaged.
Every few years I would cut it all off and wear a boy’s haircut, then a short 'fro, but I’d eventually go back to the relaxer.
My hair wouldn’t grow past my shoulders then because of the breakage.
In my case, I mostly just love a good documentary. For instance, the movie Anvil: The Story of Anvil is this wonderful documentary about an 80s metal band. Hated the music, but loved the documentary.
So yes, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about life for folks of other races, but you have to temper that with the fact that I really enjoyed the film Helvetica. A documentary about the font. Yes, now that you ask, I am a giant nerd.
Update: I wish he had explored the history a bit more. Terry Zwigoff, the director of Ghost World and Bad Santa collects Valmor products. They sold thousands of products, mostly to African-Americans, and the Valmor fortune built the expansion of Chicago’s Art Institute.
I was watching part of an ep of Tyra’s show, where she had Chris Rock and Raven Symone (she was interviewed in the movie) on, and they were talking about the movie and hair and beauty in general, and I remember just thinking–wow, this show is watched by lots of women, both black and white, and they’re all watching three black celebrities talk about an issue that’s relevant to them…and it’s not being seen as some “fringe” issues. It’s something the mass media is covering. Okay, no, it’s not the big issue of the day, but I think it is important. And telling–fifty years ago this could never have happened on TV.
Also, I only really knew of Raven Symone from Cosby Show and as vaguely having had her own show on Disney but based on what I saw of her in Good Hair and in that interview, she’s pretty awesome.
That’s awesome–I’ve become really interested in the whole hair thing now. Not to sound too patronizing or anything, but for you was it mostly about not damaging your hair, or did it also have to do with wanting to celebrate a form of beauty that isn’t really recognized by the white mainstream? I saw another Tyra show (I know, I know…) where some little girls were talking about what they saw as good hair and they all thought that the straight hair was better. One even said she saw coarser hair as “lower class.” For you, is it about trying to say that this non mainstream look can be just as beautiful as straight blonde hair? (Again, forgive me if this is uber condescending…)
You don’t sound at all patronizing. I appreciate questions.
Damage was a part of my decision, but I was in a relationship with a man with beautiful locs and I took care of his hair on a regular basis. The time together with me sitting in a chair while he sat on the floor between my legs as I loc’d (twisted) the new growth was the best part of our relationship since we talked about everything and anything.
It just hit me one day and I tossed out the relaxer kit, grabbed the scissors and started cutting the relaxed part of my hair off. I twisted up the new growth (about 8 weeks worth), and THEN went online to see how to do it. (smile)
I added lemon juice to my shampoo to help my hair to “roughen up” a little - advice from my ex at the time.
I’ve never gone to a loctician to have my hair done, although I may treat myself if I get a holiday bonus this year.
We saw “Helvetica” a work just a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it too!
ETA - I get so many compliments from women these days - It always amazes me. I call my locs “my crown”. (I’m a queen now -smile)
I also was really fascinated by this one part where Chris Rock goes to North Carolina to this place called the Dudley School, a beauty school that specializes in black hair. It was founded by a black man (Mr. Dudley, who still owns it), and manufactures its own products. But then we learn that it’s the exception–that most black hair products are manufactured by whites or Asians. At hair expo there were a couple of rows for a few black owned businesses, but they were in the minority. Which kind of made me feel sad.
Don’t let it amaze you. It’s a new day, and natural hair these days in the black community is very often complimented by our peops.
I haven’t seen the movie, and I hesitate to see it because I am wary of upper class black folk, media black folk and Hollywood black fold telling the story of blacks to white folks. Just wary of it, is all. I know these are my issues to deal with. Wouldn’t mind them to tell our story if I trusted them to tell it honestly.
My afro hasn’t known a relaxer in about 20 years, and I will never go back. I bet your locks are beautiful, Jali. I absolutely love to see lovely locks.
Chris Rock didn’t make it for white folks. He made it for his daughter, who asked him “Daddy, why don’t I have good hair?” and he wanted to try and give her an answer.
It just so happens that a lot of white people are enjoying the documentary too. Like gaffa, I love documentaries that tell me a bit about a world I had little or no exposure to prior to the film. Anvil is a good example. I also hate heavy metal music, but I loved the movie. Genghis Blues, about a blind American blues player who learns how to perform Tuvan throat music and travels to Tuva for a competition. Say Amen, Somebody, an utterly wonderful documentary about gospel music, that makes this atheist get up and dance. On and on. I like documentaries, and I liked this documentary, a lot.
As could any father who didn’t have a development deal with HBO. I’d wager most good documentaries start in the same way - someone tries to explain something to another person, and realizes that it’s something that might be of interest to a lot more people. Sorry, but your objection makes about as much sense as insisting that if Stephen Spielberg wanted to tell a scary story about a shark he should just come to your house and tell you rather than make a movie about it.
I’m pulling this out of my ass, but I’d wager the majority of documentaries don’t recoup their investment. Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock are the rare exception, and I don’t resent someone as talented as Chris Rock joining that group. I think he’s testing the waters, and has the talent to make a really powerful movie about race (which he touched on with the part in the barbershop with the one guy who said he liked dating white girls).
Well, I think that might be taking it a bit too literally. I think his daughter was a jumping off point. I think he’d been thinking about doing a movie on hair for a while but hearing what his daughter said really pushed him to. So his feelings seem motivated by his strong emotions at hearing what his little girl said and at a greater issue in the culture.
I saw it when it first hit New York a couple months ago and thought it was great. (I could have sworn I posted about it on the Dope somewhere, but can’t find it at the moment.)
I’ve been a fan of Chris Rock for a long time and I think his sensibility translates well to the documentary genre. I’d love to see his approach to other issues. Certainly would be tremendously more entertaining (and informative) than the usual Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock screechfests that have come to dominate the field.
Also, the movie has inspired me to try relaxer on my Jewfro. I haven’t quite worked up the courage yet, though.