By: Melody Charles
What do ‘creamy crack’ and lock-littered temples in India have to do with getting good hair? According to the movie by the same name, everything.
If that seems a bit confusing, then you’ll also raise your eyebrows quite a few times as you watch Chris Rock’s newly-released documentary. Full of witty wisecracks, but low on facts, Good Hair takes viewers through the painstaking processes that many African-American women endure to achieve that bouncing-and-behaving standard that many consider to be….well, you know.
If you’re black and weren’t born half an hour ago, then most of what’s shown won’t shock or awe you as Mr. Rock rolls across the country to different barber shops, beauty salons, and yes, even to an annual Atlanta extravaganza known as the Bonner Brothers International Hair Show, where stylists compete for top billing with over-the-top displays of sex, sizzle, showmanship and super-fast styling shears.
Inquisitive, yet mostly impartial, Mr. Rock asks experts, actresses, video vixens, and average everyday citizens about their tresses (whether they grew them or not), where weaves come from (that’s where the Indian temple comes in), and what too much of the caustic chemical solution (known as ‘relaxer,’ ‘perm’ and ‘creamy crack’) can do to the hair (dissolve it), the scalp (fry it) and an aluminum can (you’ll have to see it to believe it, and the sight isn’t a pretty one).
For what it’s worth, Good Hair does approach the touchy subject with a deft sense of humor and will, for the uninitiated masses, be educational and enlightening. But if you’re looking for an explanation as to why sisters so desperately seek the look and are willing to pay mind-blowing amounts of money to maintain it, you’ll be sorely disappointed. In fact, if you’re a black woman, you might feel singled out and outright dissed because it seems as though Mr. Rock, while quick to joke about the culture, doesn’t highlight other races’ pursuits of beauty at the same time: the result makes black women look freakishly vain and preoccupied for no good reason about their locks, while letting the cultural and political factors that shaped their behavior completely slip by unnoticed, which, for history’s sake, is anything but ‘good.’