Sunday, November 01, 2009

"Good Hair" (Documentary) (2009) - Movie Review

When I saw “Malcolm X”, the young Malcolm played by Denzel Washington applies a white waxy material on his curly hair and goes berserk when he is not able to find water to wash it off before it ruins and damages the hair and skin. The knowledge of some kind of beauty product is applied by most African American’s to straighten was common sense but the process and the burning sensation they go through was not. “Good Hair” enlightens more than that, a documentary starred and narrated by Chris Rock in the investigation and education of the hair of black people in US.

Almost every women in the black community and some men spend their fortune to straighten and mainly maintain the look of it. The film interviews the popular and famous in the show business experiencing their transition as much as the other women in their regular day to day life. I have not seen Chris Rock’s stand ups but few of his films he was in, his style is to yell and be loud which he accepts himself. Thankfully directed by Jeff Stinson, this film is serious about its content and uses humour to tell those than to amplify those.

The biological differences in different races is a puzzling idea but thinking scientifically somehow or other it relates to the weather and surviving capability of that part of the world. While I do not know the reasoning for the hair differences in that, the burning debate of what beauty is and how it gets cultured in any one from their childhood is a thought to ponder. Without any judgment and inhibition, I would say that a straight hair is appreciated and comes across as a suitable presentation in the current society. And it is a surprising fact that the appreciation of beauty varies in me looking at a non-straightened to straightened hair in black women. And hence it is no surprise that huge loads of money and time are spent in making it “beautiful.”

This movie has suspenses, surprises and without an agenda. That is a good documentary right out there. Chris Rock’s young daughter asked him why her hair is not so good. At such a young age, one realizes her hair is not good. Where did she get that idea? How did this concept of appreciable get into her brain? I guess those are the questions which prompted him to take a closer look at this ordeal, business and in a analogical sense, an addiction.

The movie’s main structure is this humungous hair styling convention of Bronner Brothers and Company and the five competitors to feature their talents in the business. It is a huge deal for them. Tanya, FJ, Derek James are black hairstylists working on their presentation. They are the best in the business and they know better about the black hair of the African American women. This battle of the band kind of deal is more than styling hair but to make it grandiose, entertaining and the art of styling the hair fast and perfect. Each have their own tactic but all are afraid of the favourite in the competition. That is Jason. He does no rehearsals than a mere botox procedure. He is cool and want to enjoy the competition. I will let you go and see the greatest surprise about Jason in the film though.

But “Good Hair” goes beyond the competition. There is the relaxing, the good old sodium hydroxide from the laboratory is the main ingredient. Rock goes and talks with a professor in chemistry. They soak a soda can in the solution and several hours does damages we do not want to know. But the women are willing to afford that risk. Then he goes on the procedure of “Weaves” which is stitch, pin or glue or whatever it takes to put a human hair to lengthen and style it. Where does this human hair comes from? That is the next surprise which made me take back to the tonsure times of mine back in India. Yes, you guessed it right. India not alone does the outsourcing but it exports the great processed shiny hair right from the belly of Lord Balaji in Tirupati. Millions every year deposit crores of money into the pit of the temple and give their offering of hair to the god. All these are taken to the lands of Chennai, processed and exported directly to Los Angeles selling thousands of dollars.

“Good Hair” is the documentary I have seen with a lighter tone yet with a gravity to the content. It is amusing in the facts it unravels. The look, the troubles and the people who go to great lengths in maintaining it. Many men cannot see it but their eyes ogle when a women with straight smooth hair walks by. But Rock reveals how women do not let their men touch their. Alas! “Good Hair” gives a crash course on the depths of the hair do these women go through right from the child hood and the industry it flourishes. The industry which has greater demand for Indian hair given off free in a temple. My nephew got tonsured very recently not in Tirupati though, otherwise who knows I would have seen his hair on a beautiful black women.


Aron Ranen said...

Please take a moment to check out my documentary film BLACK HAIR

It is free at youtube. 6 parts including an update from London, England.

It explores the Korean Take-over of the Black Beauty Supply and Hair biz..

The current situation makes it hard to believe that Madame C.J. Walker once ran the whole thing.

I am not a hater, I am a motivator.

Plus I am a White guy who stumbled upon this, and felt it was so wrong I had to make a film about it.

self-funded film, made from the heart.

Can it be taken back?


Anonymous said...

If you really want to watch a good documentary comedy movie then you must watch Good Hair. I was also searching this kind of stuff and my search took me to this place. Here not only I got the best quality but assured security too.