What is the definition of good hair? Is there such a thing? Disturbed by a comment his young daughter made about her friend’s hair, comedian Chris Rock went on a one-man mission to discover the truth. Thanks to his bravery, we are all able to learn from the investigation through his documentary film, Good Hair .
Rock has received a great deal of praise for his the film, but not all people see the film in a positive light, “Some people think I am just making fun of black women and their hair styles. No. It is a serious documentary and is actually pretty funny in the way that a Michael Moore documentary is.” He describes the film as one that sparks conversation, “this movie, you talk about it at the restaurant and when you drive home and you talk about it at work the next day.”
The comedian/actor came up with the idea twenty years ago after he discovered the bi-annual trade show, The Hair Show. Rock felt that the event would be a good idea for a film, but the idea was eventually forgotten. It was not until his daughter started bigging up her friend’s hair that the idea returned to him. Describing the scenario, Rock says, “She was just really enjoying her girlfriend’s hair. She was like, ‘But this is such good hair.’ And I was like, ‘Baby your hair is beautiful. I like your hair much better than hers.’”
On his trip, Rock comes across shocking scenes, including a woman who perms her three-year-old daughter’s hair. The hardest challenge was to remain objective to what was going on, “The woman is wrong for putting the thing on the girl’s hair but does she think she is wrong?” He went on to say, “I don’t want to make people feel bad and judgemental. I played it down the middle and I am really interested. It feels as though people want me to be mad at certain people in the movie.”
He travelled as far as India to see the effect the hair trade has on other countries. Talking about what he saw of the hair trade in India he said, “It makes you sad at the end of the film when these people live in such poverty, and make no money on selling their hair.” The comedian explained that this was one of the hardest experiences he had making the documentary. “Black women and their hair, it doesn’t make you sad. Kids, that makes me sad. Kids getting perms and learning these habits at a young age… I have daughters six and eight, and there’s no flaw on my daughters. That freaks me out, if someone would think that there is anything wrong with their kids.”
Overall, the process helped Rock understand the female beauty industry more but that doesn’t mean he thinks women are right to change their looks. “Women get bored very easily. Do you know why some white women dye their hair blonde? Yet what’s the point? You are beautiful. It’s your own hair. But they go blonde. Millions and millions of them.”
Chris Rock has made a career out of making people laugh. From his baby faced Saturday Night Live stand-up to Pooki in New Jack City to the stressed grieving son in Death At A Funeral. Recently Rock has moved behind the scenes with his writing and production work, something he has wanted to do since childhood, “There were black comedy writers but the only black people I ever saw in comedy were comedians. Writer? That seemed so foreign. Writer? I don’t know any writers. I had never seen a black writer; it was like being an Eskimo or something.” But despite the changes, he says he is a stand up first and foremost. “I am a comedian. Forever. No matter what.”
Originally published by SB.TV