Through all the major blockbuster movies these past couple of months you may have missed one smaller scale movie. Chris Rock did a documentary called Good Hair which covered a largely overlooked element of African American culture: hair style. The documentary was a comedy that looked at the black hair industry (yes, it is its own industry).
The whole idea for the film was started by Rock’s daughter who asked him one day why she didn’t have “good hair.” The definition of “good hair” for most black women is straight, long, and flowing. Unfortunately, the two most permanent ways that this can happen is with a chemical called a relaxer or with someone else’s hair in a weave. Both methods are costly from both your time and money.
Chris Rock went to beauty salons all over the nation talking to women getting their hair done, almost all of whom were getting their hair relaxed. They told Rock that they are on the “creamy crack” because you have to keep using relaxer as your hair grows out. The most eye-opening part was when he talked to a three-year-old girl getting her hair done. Rock asked her if his daughters should get their hair straightened and the little girl gave him a funny look and said “Yes! Cuz you’re supposed to.” At such a young age she already had an idea of what is beautiful hair.
I too can remember being three or four and wondering why my hair couldn’t be as straight as Pocahontas (my favorite movie at the time). Now I straighten my hair with a hot iron since I am afraid of chemical burns from relaxers (the raw chemical can eat through a soda can in five hours) and I don’t have the thousands of dollars for a weave. I only wonder who decided that black people have “bad hair” if it isn’t “good.” I will leave you with one tip from the movie and something I can identify with: never (ever) touch a womans hair without consent because you are just asking for a problem if you do. I’m just saying…
~Emily H., Teen Center Advisor