Monday, October 12, 2009

Fashion Movie Review: Chris Rock's "Good Hair".

I went this weekend to see Chris Rock's documentary "Good Hair".
I am a woman of color. Exactly what color is as much of a mystery to me as to whomever the onlooker is, because I am the definition of melting pot. I think every ethnic origin in mankind is represented in my lineage.
One thing I do know. I definitely do not have "good" (see straight, blonde, silky white girl's) hair. And I am VERY self-conscious about it. My body? 100% confident about it. But my hair? The last bastion of something I do not like in my physical self.
I have very curly, thick, dark hair.I have colored it in every natural and unnatural shade in the spectrum and have had everything from a Patty Labelle circa Lady Marmelade do, an assymetrical Salt an Peppa, a Sheila E, retro 40's styles, carvings made with clippers, 'fro hawks, A Bow Wow Wow to waist length hair... everything.
More than a thin body, all my life I have longed for Marsha Brady

or Laurie Partridge

hair. Ok.. Malibu Barbie hair..

That cannot take place anymore than I can become thin because relaxing solutions would burn my hair completely and I certainly cannot afford thermal reconditioning.

Chris Rock's documentary narrates and tells the story of African ( American, Canadian, Caribbean, British... ) women, their love/hate relationships with their hair and the billion dollar industry steamed by this complex self-image issue.

I love Chris Rock and think he is a hilarious, incisive and actually extremely intelligent comedien.

In this documentary he visits beauty salons, barber shops, beauty supply stores across the US and faraway locations such as India, where the "natural human hair" used for "weaves" or wigs comes from. He also explores the economic implications of the black hair business and exposes the fact that most of it is not African American but Asian and White owned, sometimes by powerful, multinational conglomerates like L'Oreal or Clairol.

Some companies featured in the film such as Dudley and the Atlanta-based Bronner Brother's hair shows are African American owned.

The film also explores the extent to which women go to maintain their hairstyles, the mind-blowing amounts of money they spend on it ( and I thought 120 bucks for color and cut was profligate. They have weave layaways and they run in the THOUSANDS of dollars), and the grandiose spectacle of major hair shows as well as the potential health risks associated with hair relaxing procedures because of the chemicals (such as Sodium Hydroxide) it uses.

The documentary really made me think and strives to show women that self-esteem, humor and a little common sense would go a long way towards improving their relationships with their daughters, their finances, their men and specially the hair on top of our collective heads.