Good Hair (2009) – 4/5

A very watchable, entertaining film that deals with an issue I never even knew about but is apparently huge in the black community. Who knew a movie about the various ways black people go about taming curly hair could shed so much light on the nature of race relations?

As good as it is, it’s understandable why the film didn’t do as well as it could have. Its intended audience does seem very specific, but that’s the nature of film advertisement unfortunately. The film is quite accessible to all people, regardless of ethnic background, with a fluid mix of interesting facts and Chris Rock’s patented wise cracks to keep things fresh and entertaining.

The interviews were annoying at times, though. Most interview subjects were interesting, but a few, particularly from the rapper “Eve” who doesn’t even have the decency to take off her sunglasses while talking to the camera, just got on my nerves. You make crappy, easily interchangeable pop music, hon, and in 5 years, you’ll have been replaced by someone younger and more attractive. Enjoy it while you can.

Anyway, the film explores all sorts of interesting things, like the chemicals that go into relaxants, and hair weaves, which I had no idea were as complex, popular, or expensive as they are. $1000 to get an Indian girl’s hair sown into your skull? Yikes. And it needs to be tuned up every few weeks for an additional few hundred dollars? Eeek!

I also liked the way it showed how some companies in India use churches and religion to scam all these women into shaving their heads so they can in turn sell the hair to the East for a massive profit. Real slick. Another reason to stay away from religion.

I disagree about the “natural, untamed curly black hair looking bad” thing, though. There’s a short interview with a group of women near the middle of the film where they’re each talking about their hair, and all the other women start to criticize this one poor girl there for having an Afro, telling her there’s no way they’d take her seriously or hire her for a serious position if they were given the chance and all this other crap.

It’s all nonsense; the girl looked great. It’s hard to talk about it without looking at a photo, but she looked completely normal with her hair in an Afro. Like most hair styles, some people can pull it off, and others can’t. It’s really that simple.

Anyway, a pretty good movie that sheds light on an interesting subject I knew absolutely nothing about, which is really the point of a documentary. See it!

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