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Don’t Forget My Edges: The Missing Elements of Chris Rock’s "Good Hair"

In today’s Tyler Perry saturated “voice for black people” induced media there are not many supplementary movies, television shows, or other media outlets that voice the concerns and issues in the Black Community. So when a movie entitled “Good Hair” hits the theater nationwide, with the purpose to shed light on an issue that has been a problem for Black woman and men in America for centuries, like many black woman, I was the first in line. Like many issues addressed by mainstream media I did not expect the film to address all concerns or opinions that are involved in such a complex topic, such as hair in the Black community. With Chris Rock as a director I had to prepare myself for the comedic take on a very serious issue, I decided to watch the film with an open mind.

As a sat among mostly Black woman in the theater I embraced myself to experience, the experience of watching a movie with Black folks, “side commentary”. I took note to the reactions of those around me, including the seven year old white boy and his mother who sat directly in front of me. The Black couple sitting beside them shifted slighted as Nia Long stated “that’s my n- - - - a for real” and the mother completely took her son’s focus off the movie as sex became a hair issue.

The movie was a mix between interviews with “entertainers” who were sure to be on the next episode of VH1’s Where Are They Now?, scientific evidence of the harsh chemicals in relaxers, the triangle trade of weave (hair extensions), the few black owned hair care companies, a battle of the stereotypes entitled “Bronner Brother's Hair Battle Royale” and incoherent chatter with no basis of truth at barber shops and beauty parlors. The films thesis steamed around Chris Rock’s six year old daughter Lola, who questioned why she did not have “Good Hair.” From this question Chris Rock journeyed to find our what is classified as “Good Hair” and the lengths that Black woman and men were willing to go to obtain it, including spending billions of dollars a year.

There were a few great points addressed in this film and for the most part the comedy driven documentary held my interest, but my interest began to sway as I waited for the other side of the coin to be flipped. I completely shut down for a few seconds as I watched the “natural” girl get silenced by four of her classmates for having a “cute and all afro”, but they wouldn’t give her a job or take her seriously because of her hair. One would think that a bang covering a third of your face would be far more distracting, and just when I thought she was going to be able to speak and discuss her natural hair choice, she was cut off by another weave addicted, creamy crack addict, telling her story.

Most of the woman’s hair stories were not really stories; I heard more excuses than the trails and tribulations many women experience as a result of their hair. Many stating that they wore weave to look “natural” or so their hair could bounce, flow, and blow in the wind. Yet, tested in theory, the most natural hair, your own hair, bounces and flows the nicest, as demonstrated on the Tyra Banks Show, “What is Good Hair?” episode.

For me, "Good Hair" missed the elements and stories of the girl whose brother picked on her because she was “bold headed”, the man who said he preferred woman with long hair, the women who was fired the day after she wore an afro to work, the women who now has no hair around her edges due to years of chemicals, braids, and intensive heat or the man who didn’t get a job until he cut his dreads off. Those elements were missing, but like Chris Rock said, “…they weren’t really interesting.”

As I walked out the theater and I heard men discussing “Anti-Weave” t-shirts, I immediately laughed. I had to wonder if these were the same men who preferred their woman “long hair, thick, red bone” (Lil’ Wayne), praised the video girls, models, singers and actors and held woman to their standards, preferred their woman to be mixed or disliked woman with short hair that is cut “like a boy.” I could only hope they weren’t. That reminded me of another missing element of the movie, men’s perpetuation of how and why woman obsess over their hair.

I am aware that Chris Rock could not combat or address all Black hair issues in a 95 minute film, but overall, I would give the movie and A for “Al Sharpton” (Effort) and a C for substance. Throughout the entire movie commentary spread, accompanied with laughter, but between Al Sharpton and the self proclaimed inventor of the Jeri Curl there were many truths displayed in the film. As we continue to comb our oppression and are haphazardly unaware of the damage these chemicals are doing to our bodies, we must first look at the history, our health, and the choices of Black people in regards to a matter as seemingly diminutive as our hair.

This problem has a history far deeper than Melyssa Ford understands and health issues that have yet to be explored (Septicemia (blood posing) being the eighth leading cause of death for Black woman)* As a woman with 100 percent natural hair, who also occasionally wears weaves, I think that the bottom line should be should be choice to wear your hair however you want to. Granted yellow, purple, green and orange are not natural hair colors, or hair that sticks a foot in the air, but the choice to wear you hair straightened one week, curly the next, braids on Thursday, and twists on Friday. You should have the choice to be nappy and happy, curly and content, or straight and satisfied, the choice is yours.

*“Ten Leading Causes of Death Among Females (All Ages), by Race/Ethnicity, 2006” (http://mchb.hrsa.gov/whusa09/hstat/hi/desc/208lcdTre.html).


  1. From what I've seen and read, this movie just seems to be more about making a skeptical out of black women. It makes it seem like we are vain and self-absorbed because we are doing this to ourselves for not a justifiable reason.

    He should have made a video about the disdain for black features and characteristics in this country--about the racial caste system that exist in the US that drives black women to feel like we have to change ourselves.

  2. Chris Rock's opinion that black men don't care about black women's hair was the reason I wrote this (http://www.examiner.com/x-8496-Chicago-Relationships-Examiner~y2009m10d7-Do-black-men-care-about-black-womens-hair). And you already know I agree with you about the woman with natural hair speaking up (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2278143/movie_review_chris_rocks_good_hair.html). But what has blown me is how irate women who wear weave are about this film. They're more defensive than the omnivores I talk to when I say I'm a vegetarian. It's almost like the hostility and defensive attitude makes me wonder are they really comfortable wearing it. What makes you want to wear weave considering your hair is natural? I've never worn it.

  3. Some women are have breast cancer and have to wear weave because chemotherapy has taken their hair out, my aunt is like this. They are defensive about it because people have gotten very disrepectful to them since that movie. Shamentiel, a lot of these men are not honest, and will tell you what they think you want to hear. They will say they hate weave, but given half the chance, they would love to have sex with Britney Spears who wears hair extensions. They may say they want a slender black woman, but turn right around and date a fat white woman. I have seen this happen over and over. You can't place much stock into what some of these men tell you.

  4. I think any woman should be allowed to do whatever she wants with her hair. Our first President wore a powdered wig for God's sake. What is the worry about black mens preferences. Are black women only mad when black men like light skin ? No one asked to be born with light skin. I see FAR more black men with white women. Don't hate on light skin that is the most disturbing part of this story. Jealousy is outrageous. I white menwith dark woman and there is a celebration! That in itself is very racist. And the very root of it is jealousy. The eye dont lie. Pretty is pretty. Light, dark , slanty , eye , round eye, blue eye black eye. But every one is not outwardly as beautiful as another.that should not be important. I have a beautiful friend who is very light and just so happens to be beautiful. But people really discriminate against her. She is stunning and when people are feeling jealous they lash out. She wishes she was blacker just to fit in and not have to prove herself so much. She is the kindest person I have ever known. She even takes care of her mom who is handicapped in her own home. never parties or shows off. You would not believe her beauty. It takes people a very long time to catch on that "T" is both beautiful insidde and outside. Could care less. She weaves other little blcak girls hair for free, just because they want it. Black men making fun of black women weaves is sad , because they love hais so much and love white women so much that it makes any shade of black women cringe. What "brotha" is not making fun of "sistahs"? No one is making fun of Jessica Simpson clip hair or Raquel Welch or Eva Gabor wigs. Do you actually think that fake hair was intended for black womens happines. No way. White women & men have been faking their hair for centuries. If black people do it , it means you hate yourself???? I think not. Is it the black mans attitude towards black woman causing these problems! If there was cohesiveness within the black race, there would be a race that is celebrated. The Bible said " a house divided cannot stand"
    It also said "Where there is envy strife and confusion there is every evil work" The black race is dying and crying foul, while people come from third world countries to America and make it work in droves! If Black men like white women who cares! They are going to have black children!!!!HELLO!Latinos, Asians, Jewish people marry white. Those peoples confidence is not shaken. Get your hair did however you like!


  5. P.S. Black women are AMAZING to even be able to do this!

  6. P.S. Black women are AMAZING to even be able to do hair weaves that is ! WOW! This is a talent!

  7. Here is the sad thing:

    Women of color have been put down for a long time. A lot of it did come from jealousy and hatred for some of the looks that black women sported. A lot of the shapes and preferences that men have, black women already had it. To get black women to conform to a different beauty standard, to make us look like clowns, "Let's tell them to wear weaves, and then maybe we'll have a chance. Maybe our men will stop going to the slave houses down the way to sleep with the black women!" and "If she has good hair and she works in the house, chop it off! Take away from her beauty!" White women have always been a bit jealous of black women's beauty. Of course, black women have usually been raised to take great care of themselves. From skin, to hair, to their bodies, black women have always been held to a higher standard when it comes to looking nice. Since we are inherently considered "Ugly" in this country now, with all the help from biased media, stereotyping, and the only black females who truly get noticed on television being mixed (or loud, obnoxious, overweight black females) the ones in the middle, the classy, smooth brown black woman with nice, neat hair, gets looked over. A lot of people are now intimidated by black women because of the media, because of stereotyping, and good god the internet helped even more to maim a black woman's image. When they see a mixed female, they think she has more class, more beauty. It isn't really fair, but I also do not believe that black women should be separated by skin tone, and then again by their hair. Relaxers, imo, look very fake and unnatural. I wore them for most of my life, caused a lot of trouble honestly. I believe natural hair is more fitting to us, and it would bring out more of our beauty. Black women have been brainwashed into believing that relaxed hair looks better, and so just like, if not more than, white people, black women get vicious when they see a black woman with her natural hair. Actually to back track a bit, white people generally like natural hair better. I have to agree with them on this one. I like my natural hair better than when it was permed. It is easier to care for, better looking on me, and unique. There is no such thing as good hair. There is just different hair. Not everyone would look good with silky flowy hair, and not everyone would look good with large curly manes. Hair is tailored to the individual. We should be confident in ourselves, stop hating others for their looks, stop denying that we are jealous of people and treat them badly for things we cannot have, and feel comfortable in our own skin, cause IT'S NOT CHANGING.