Archive for the ‘Chris Rock’ Category

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To Weave or not to Weave

September 1, 2009

Summer is ending and there are tons of great movies slotted to premiere this Fall.  I usually get excited around this time of year but so far the only films I’m geeked to see are the Oprah/Tyler Perry produced, Precious; The Lovely Bones, and Chris Rock’s Good Hair. Those of you who know me are aware that I am a master of hair disguise and I sooooo can’t wait to organize and facilitate a discussion with women of color about the “good hair” debate.

In related news, this weekend I attended the wedding of my oldest childhood friend and like a true Black woman I gave entirely too much thought about what coif to rock.  In the end I decided to weave it up- my first in 10 years. That same weekend I attended a high school reunion and to say that my new locks gave me an extra boost of confidence would be an understatement.  I worked the floor, flirting, dancing, and mingling with all the hot guys who wouldn’t give me the time of day all those years ago when I was a chunky monkey with chubby cheeks and short, stringy tresses.  Perhaps the weight loss added to my increased self-esteem but I couldn’t help but feel the entire night that in the end, men- especially Black men are in search of  those unbeweavable Beyonce types.

Remember when weaves used to be taboo in the Black community?  For the record I NEVER have a problem getting play when I wear my hair natural but in truth, we live in the age of the mixed-race video vixen with hair longer than her IQ.  Ok that was harsh but you know what I mean.  I don’t even watch BET much these days but it seems that every time I see a new video, Weavie Wonder is front and center doing her little dance.  And one need not only look to Black music to understand what I’m talking about.  The Britney’s and Lindsey’s love “extensions” too.

I just wanna know are weaves more attractive to Black men?  Do Black women wear them to compensate for other insecurities?  Does hair even matter?  Of course I can’t make sweeping generalities for an entire race but whatever the answer is, Seabiscuit and I will be in the front row of our local theatre watching Chris Rock do his thing.  The film opens in select cities on October 9th and nationwide on October 23rd.  See you at the movies!

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Chris Rock Knows ‘Good Hair’

January 15, 2009
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Don't forget the "kitchen".

Black women know that the “kitchen” refers to that area at the nape of the neck that sweats the most and causes non-relaxed hair to kink up. 

We’ve all seen those elaborate do’s.  Whether pressed, gelled, weaved (sewn-in or glued), pony-tailed, or braided we can’t help but stare in astonishment at the sistah who has no shame in wearing the most flamboyant of hairstyles.  Bonus points to her if her hair, outfit, and accessories are color-coordinated.  You’ve never seen neon- colored braids to match ones shoes or nails?  Yes, these individuals do exist…and Chris Rock wants to have a talk with them.

Rock’s documentary Good Hair is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend.  An analysis of African American hair culture, in Hair Rock, with the help of celebrities like Ice-T, Nia Long, and Kerry Washington explore how hairstyling and maintenance affect the social, emotional, and psychological core of Black women.  As reported by Sundance:

”When Chris Rock’s daughter, Lola, came up to him crying and asked, ‘Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?’ the bewildered comic committed himself to search the ends of the earth and the depths of black culture to find out who had put that question into his little girl’s head!”

In the Black community the term “good hair” is used to describe a texture that is neither kinky or coarse but rather wavy or straight.  During slavery slaves with good hair, likely mulatto (i.e. the “massah’s” offspring), were associated with being prettier, favorable, and often received better treatment than those who were not of mixed race.  They typically worked in or around the house rather than in the fields with the other slaves who tended to be darker in pigment.  These field worker women often wore scarves and handkerchiefs to manage their woolly manes.  The term is also attributed to African Americans with Native American or Hispanic ancestry. 

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Throughout the years as Black women became a significant part of the workforce they relied on straightening combs, texturizers, and the use of other chemicals to give their hair a look that emmulated their white counterparts.  Given the disproportionate images of white women in television and film, Black women too altered their coifs to mirror those flips and bobs made popular by their favorite celebrities .  Even Oprah, in the beginning of her journalism career, donned a wig to cover her kinks when she reported the news. 

If Good Hair is as thought-provoking as Chris Rock is comedic concerning the idiosyncrasies of Black life, it promises to be a hit.  Hopefully its release will open doors in Black households for honest conversation about what it means to celebrate natural beauty (yes, nappy hair is “good” too) and love oneself for who they are and the texture of hair that they were born with.  Though women with relaxed hair are susceptible to problems such as hair loss, burns, and scalp damage individuals relax their hair for multiple reasons.  It is critical however to  examine whether these reasons are rooted in underlying self-hate, false expectations,  or misconceptions about what it means to care for natural hair.

Embracing ones hair type is an individual journey.  I rocked a perm for 17 years before discovering that my nappy hair looked just as full and lustrous when straightened with a flat iron than when relaxed. 

On a cynical note, I’m hoping that this film will educate uninformed hair care “professionals” of other races about what Black women can and can’t do with their hair.  Just yesterday at my visit to a beauty supply store an Asian clerk, a little too eager to describe which products would be appropriate for my texture, told me that locking gel wouldn’t be useful on my hair because it was “relaxed”.   Yes, I thought.  After 27 years, I know so little about my own hair that I need you to tell me that permed hair and locking gel don’t mix.  After explaining that my hair was flat ironed, he looked at me like I had three heads and responded “Really?  Wow” with a tone somewhere between disbelief and awe. 

This begs the question of why there are so few Black-owned beauty supply stores in Black neighborhoods. Let me rephrase, why are there so many Asian-owned beauty supply stores in Black neighborhoods?  I’m sure Chris Rock will tackle those issues with a dose of humor that only he can.