Want a ‘Good Hair’ day? It’s not as easy as just relaxing…

What makes a good hair day? For some it’s as simple as a quick wash’n'go, but for naturally afro-haired women a ‘good hair’ day can actually be a nightmare to achieve. In an unexpected career move, this is the subject of comedian Chris Rock’s latest documentary – aptly entitled Good Hair.

Inspired by the heartbreaking moment his young daughter came to him asking “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” Rock set off on a journey to find out just what constituted ‘Good Hair’ for black women. Firstly, it seems that Rock couldn’t get to the root of that question without culturally questioning their idealised hair type; ‘relaxed’, ’straight’, ’smooth’ – seemingly as far away from afro hair and as close to Caucasian as possible.

In a world where wavy-haired white women adorn our screens, flicking their tresses and proclaiming “Because I’m Worth It”,  it’s hardly surprising that afro haired women might aspire to ‘white girl flow‘… even when weaves are expensive, relaxers are chemically dangerous and the whole hair styling process can take hours on end! So what does all this tell us about our society today? If anyone has a passionate, pointed and bitterly humorous take on the subject then, surely, Chris Rock is our guy!

Good Hair won the special jury prize at the 2009 Sundance festival and has just been released over here (it’s UK release was on the 25th June). Mixing the personal, the painful and the absurd, Good Hair looks hilarious, provocative and vital… and I’m really looking forward to seeing it!

More to hear, see and read;

Chris Rock talks to the BBC on why he made Good Hair

Tyra Banks devotes an entire episode of her show to African-American hair styling, inspired by Rock’s documentary

Jamelia’s ‘Whose Hair Is It Anyway?’ for BBC Three

My post on the 1940’s Clark doll experiment and Kiri Davis’ film A Girl Like Me

And more to watch and read, as of 19/07/2010;

Rock’s documentary has received negative reviews from the black and feminist community. Interesting points have been made that it was unbalanced, sexist and judgemental, that it shows black women as ’silly’ and ‘vain’… take a look at these!

The film gets a thumbs down from crownofHisglory

Mrs Raena felt the film missed the point in its focus on male/female relationships, intimacy and men paying for treatments

Krizia of EatSmartAgeSmart gives her reaction to Rock’s documentary before seeing it… and after seeing it.

GoingAllNatural wishes there had been more talk about natural hair in the movie

Rose Afriyie at Feministing gives her review

Good post and good comments over at Racialicious

By: Sarah Barnes, 03.07.2010 | Comments (2)
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A Girl Like Me

Catching up with my favourite blog, Sociological Images, this weekend I was interested to see that CNN have recently had a bash at recreating Dr Kenneth Bancroft Clark and Ms Mamie Phipps Clark’s famous 1940’s doll experiment. The experiment involved presenting children with two dolls, one black and one white in skin colour, and then asking questions that alluded to their unconscious preference. Watch the outcomes of CNN’s modern experiment here… the results are in turns devastating and hopeful.

Anyway, this recent revisiting of the Clark doll experiment is a great excuse to take a look at Kiri Davis’ illuminating film ‘A Girl Like Me’. Davis also recreates the doll experiment, but goes further in her analysis by interviewing her peers about their beauty regimes and self perception. In this way, Davis demonstrates how such seeds of racial favouritism can go on to manifest and strengthen throughout adolescence, entering into adult ideas of feminine beauty.

By: Sarah Barnes, 16.05.2010 | Comments (2)
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