Good Hair

Year: 2009

Writer: Lance Crouther & Paul Marchand (ghostwriter) & Chris Rock & Chuck Sklar & Jeff Stilson

Director: Jeff Stilson

Budget: ?

Gross: $1 727 486 (as of October 18th, 2009)

 

who ever thought a documentary about hair could cause controversy? well, that is what Good Hair has done. the new doc from chris rock and director jeff stilson, about the history and industry surrounding african americans and their hair, has been getting lots of praise and lots of flack.

i have some of both to give it. but i do think the controversy heaped on it is a little unjustified, and has more to do with peoples interpretations of the film - or the mear fact that the film is talking about its subject - rather then what the film is actually saying... which leads into some of my "flack", so i guess we are starting with the negatives...

the film does try to take a more reporting/journalism/down-the-middle approach to its subject then we have been used to in recent years with the documentary format. in the case of this film, this is both good and bad.

while i appreciated the ability to listen to the interviews without feeling like the film was pushing or angling everything one way or the other, i also felt like some of the more interesting and important issues that were brought up were also kind of skirted over.

the idea that black women spend so much time and money and effort trying to make their hair straighter and silkier and "whiter" is something that the film brings up, but then doesn't really attack or delve into. some of the interviews mention it, but it doesn't get the treatment it deserves. the same is true for some other ideas that get brought up. really, what the film feels like, is the beginning of a discussion.

chris rock is taking this secret of the black community and putting it out there and making us all talk about it. and in that way it is really working. not only did it lead to an interesting conversation between me and my friends on the walk home from the theatre, but oprah, tyra, the Today Show, essence magazine, etc... have all been talking about "good hair" and what it means.

the movie is funny and chris rock is a great person to take us on the journey of the film which will definitely open up many eyes to the industry that is african american hair. it will entertain and inform and, what it's most trying to do, will start an interesting and important discussion.

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