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March 29, 2010 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Good Hair


Chris Rock presents a breezy ethnographic documentary about African-America and its culture. The film is rather refreshing, as the subject which at first seems banal becomes rather engrossing, while Rock is his usual charming self.

We consume a metric fucktonne of African-American cultural by-products every day, yet even though we see more black Americans on television than New Zealanders of any shade, their culture isn’t an intimate part of our daily life. So the 77 minutes of hair talk had an air of false nostalgia to me. Of course black women use chemicals to straighten their hair out, and no, you should never touch a black woman’s hair. I knew these facts without knowing why; I blame hungover Sando watching Tyra.

Good Hair often amuses without obviously stretching to make comedic moments, unlike Bill Maher’s Religulous or anything by Michael Moore. Partly this is because the film is just an examination of a world that Rock finds fascinating. We see a Black Haircare expo/theatrical event, an industrial plant that produces giant cans of noxious alkali hair ‘relaxing’ solution, and Rock takes us to a weave (hair extentions, kinda) factory in India.

The documentary also dives right into the many social implications of hair care. The film was inspired by Rock’s daughter asking him why she didn’t have “good hair”, and that question opens up a whole other can of relaxer. What does it mean to be wearing afro-textured hair, or to straighten it to look more like white/Asian hair? What is the importance of white and Asian multinationals controlling the African-American hair market? What does T-Pain have to say on the matter? (A lot, actually. He’s a smart fellow.)

Long story short: It’s a tightly paced interesting documentary with its share of amusing incidents, King Of Kong-like if you will. A perfect date documentary, unlike that erection killer The Cove.

Directed by: Jeff Stilson
Part of the World Cinema Showcase


About the Author ()

Nic Sando is a god amongst men, fifteen fathoms high he be, with strange and wyrd powers at his disposal. Only a fool won't harken his ears to the east when he hears The Sando man stumping his way.

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