Chris Rock doing a documentary was never too big of a stretch. Back when he had his own short-lived show on HBO (by the way, that is STILL better than any other talk show currently out), he dabbled with the concept repeatedly. Sure, they were comedic skits, but he knew how to achieve a documentary-like effect. If anyone could take a topic like Black hair that had already been beaten to death and make it fresh, Rock was a perfect candidate.
Rock became inspired with the concept of the "Good Hair" documentary when his little girl asked him how come she doesn't have good hair. He could have very easily given her the talk that many Black parents have had. Maybe he actually did. What he did do was make this movie to examine Black women's obsession with their hair. Okay...not just entirely Black women. They touch briefly on James Brown and even Rev. Al Sharpton as well.
The topic itself was nothing earth shattering for anyone that has grown up in a Black household. Anyone who has a Black mother and been around her for even most of their life is not going to get discover any shocking new information from this documentary. At least not from the testimonial portions regardless of whether they are coming from actresses like Nia Long or whether they come from aspiring hairdressers. However, there are quite a few interesting points brought up which I didn't know.
First and foremost was the other focus of the movie which was the Bronner Brothers Hair Show which takes place in Atlanta every year. Not that I didn't know that it went on, I just didn't realize what a big deal it was. It's pretty much the Super Bowl for hairdressers. You would think for something that large that generates that much revenue that the grand prize for the winner would be pretty monumental. It's only $20,000. Sure, it is a lot of money, but not comparatively speaking for an event as huge as the Bronner Brothers Hair Show. I'm pretty sure when the competitors factor in transportation costs for everyone involved in their show, paying the models/dancers, choreographers, props, etc. they have already spent that much money in preparing for the competition.
The fact that they even incorporated all of that mess into a hair competition a trip in itself. They would put on these elaborate stage shows and the performance included just a few minutes of actual hairstyling, if that. And then the hairstyles they did weren't even attractive. Apparently it wasn't for me to understand though.
It was interesting fact to find out that Rev. Sharpton first got his hair relaxed for a relatively good cause. He was talking to James Brown about the possibility of making Dr. King's birthday a national holiday and James Brown called the White House right then and there. The Godfather of Soul was able to get an appointment with the President to make it happen, but made a deal with Sharpton that the reverend had to get his hair relaxed if he was going to show up with James at the White House. If that's what it took to make something that important happen, then more power to Sharpton because I would have done the same thing. Although that still doesn't explain why he never got rid of the perm and he never does offer any insight into that either.
I also didn't know that Pep's asymmetrical hairstyle that was her trademark during the height of her Salt-n-Pepa fame in the 80s was due to a relaxer gone wrong. Turns out she had burned her scalp from leaving the relaxer in too long which left bald spots in her hair. The only option was to have her hair cut unevenly to cover up those spots; thus, the asymmetrical cut was born. Just further proof that necessity is the mother of invention.
My favorite point from the whole film was something that actress Tracie Thoms stated. She has had her hair relaxed in the past but has been going natural for a while now. She indicated that folks consider a Black woman being revolutionary if she has her hair natural instead of relaxed. So to have her hair chemical-free is viewed as radical. It's a shame that that is where we're at now, but that's the society we live in.
It all comes down to a matter of preference as with anything else concerning fashion. It just so happens that an overwhelming number of women buy into the need to relax their hair. Although truthfully, not all women look good with that natural look.
Just like not all brothas look good bald-headed. Although "Good Hair" certainly doesn't reveal many groundbreaking revelations as it pertains to Black hair and those choices women AND men make, it's a decent entry into one of age-old debate.
My rating: B -