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Curly Nikki

A Reader’s Review of ‘Good Hair’

By January 27th, 202130 Comments

A Reader's Review of 'Good Hair'
Happy Monday!

So, don’t get mad…but I have yet to see this movie! I know, I know 🙂 I had several local curlies request a meet-up to see it, but I’ve obviously been dragging my feet. I’ve seen the Oprah interview, watched Chris on Jay Leno, and heard about his appearance on Tyra…I’ve read review after review…I feel like I’ve seen it! In the meantime, I requested reviews from you divas. One in particular stood out from the crowd:
___________________________________________________________________

Nikki,

I visit your site every working day sometimes even thrice a day. I am a long time lurker/anon commenter since perhaps March 2009 and I am currently transitioning (9 months strong). Anyway, I went to go see Good Hair on October 8th at the midnight showing in my area (DC Metro area) with a friend of mine who is already natural. Anyway…I had a few issues with it but I will start with the positive (in hopes to make a negative on positive sandwich).

Positive:

-It is good that people were able to see just how powerful sodium hydroxide is and to have that visual to take home and think about the next time they apply the creamy crack. I am not one who thinks that people should be anti-relaxer, I simply desire that all people make informed decisions vs doing things just because. (Although had I had it my way, I would have made the “scientific study” a bit more generalizable by making sure to use a conc of sodium hydroxide that was same as that of relaxer and a piece of skin to really give a true representation of what happens to scalp and hair. Just because the point is valid, but easily refutable based on the way the “study” was conducted…but I digress 🙂 )

Negatives:
– The movie lacked balance. There wasn’t much representation from the natural community which in my opinion is one of the reasons why it lacked balance. By that I mean, there were several mini interviews that merely highlighted the pervasive and self-loathing perception of good hair; but their weren’t many if any to share the – let’s call it “enlightened”, for lack of a better phrase – perception of good hair.
– I didn’t see where he really broached the topic of why the black community carries these beliefs of good hair vs bad hair. The movie seemed to focus a bit more on the weave-epidemic and the hair industry.
– I have learned more from reading your site and others than I would have gotten out of this movie. In fact, watching the movie with so much straight hair in it, I started to miss the silky straight days. (Don’t worry I am back on track)
– After all the you tube videos, and oprah, and the pictures, etc, you have practically already seen the whole movie.
– I guess, after it is all said and done, I could see why some women felt that it was just an airing of dirty laundry, because for the most part that is all the movie did. It basically implied that regular working class AA women typically spend their rent money on hair from across the world that originally started out as free. It reaffirmed that the “universal” perception is that natural black hair is undesirable. And finally, it showcased the fact that black women will do anything, even put noxious chemicals on their head to attain straight hair. I feel much of this sentiment could have been avoided if the other end of the spectrum was highlighted, such as the psycho-sociological considerations as to why this may be, or perhaps the fact that the women who spend 1k on weave are the exception not the rule. something, anything.

Positive:
– From a socioeconomic standpoint, the movie definitely highlighted the revenue-drawing aspect of the hair industry. Some even called it the exploitation side of the business, with AAs buying most of the product but reaping very very little of the revenue. For me this was the sticking point that made this movie a black issue, but for the most part, all the other aspects of the movie could have represented curlies from all races and nationalites.

So that is my review of the movie. Thank you so much for all the work you put into the site. I want you to know that I personally really appreciate your consistency and dedication to the site. Knowing that each day that I log-on there will be something new to read/learn/think about is great!

Very appreciative,
Tasia

So what did you think of the movie?

30 Comments

  • Xavia says:

    It was actually this movie that led to my decision to go natural. I was not only terrified by learning about what I have been putting my hair for years, but the lack of positivity towards those who had natural hair. I really enjoyed the interview with the only natural in the group and her desire to stay committed to her natural hair. I actually felt embarrassed by how Indians gave up their hair for religion while we rush to buy it! Europeans aren't trying to be something their not so why should we? We were not meant to have straight hair so why are we continuing to buy into someone else's idea of what beauty is? This film showed me the sad extent women will go through to achieve "white" hair instead of embracing what they have. I do agree that more light should have been shown on those who have natural hair and give viewers a more balanced view of the issue, but this movie was meant to be funny and entertain and it did both for me as well as educate me. I applaud the film for touching on the subject in the first place because I noticed that after this film came out, more natural women were making themselves known. Whether you have a good opinion or bad opinion about this movie, the point is the movie has served its purpose; it made the viewers laugh, made them uncomfortable, and made them think. I told my family about this movie and I set my appointment for my big chop and haven't looked back since. Thanks Chris Rock!

  • Elegant says:

    In my honest opinion, I kinda liked it, but also felt it should have been a woman over a man to put this type of movie out there for the world to see how "we" subject ourselves to societal beauty

  • Anonymous says:

    I saw the movie and felt although it was comedic it posed some important questions. Such as where do hair for weaves come from. Who is making a profit out of our obsession with hair. Also, the segment about the relaxer has made me stop and think whether straightening my hair is worth the risk.Where the movie fell down is it didn't explain the history, the psychology and politics of black hair. The part where a group of black girls talked about the black girl with natural hair being unprofessional hurt. The fact he didn't ask her opinion was a missed opportunity.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just saw the movie over the weekend and I was NOT impressed at all. It totally lacked balance as stated. Also, it would have been nice to see more (I think there was only ONE) sisters sporting their natural hair. Nothing wrong with wigs and weaves if that's your choice, but if this was to be the "must-see" black hair movie, Chris missed the mark. And so did Oprah!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Chris Rock made this movie to be funny and in doing so he exploited his own race, therefore making him a "sell-out". This is just the kind of thing that has kept the African-American race from uniting. You will NEVER hear of Asian,Russians,Hispanics, or any other race for that matter- discussing theirofsecrets" or habits or any other truly heart-felt matters to their races. Chris Rock and Tyra both did a "wonderful" job in that. Tyra didn't "help" anyone but the white race have "leverage" on the African-American women. Now there will always be a sncker, a nudge, even someone who is STUPID enough to ask a African-American woman "is that all your hair?" No matter how short or long it is.

  • Anonymous says:

    i completely agree with everything Tasia said. The movie just didn't "do it" for me.

    sn: my name is Tasia as well! lol

  • Anonymous says:

    People disappointed about he dirty laundry need to get over it. I personally just as many whites see it because it is enlightning. We are too serious if the documentary was so militant is would have never mad it to the big screen. RELAX LADIES. IT IS REALLY ABOUT SELF-ESTEEM ISSUE. Some issue have to be presented from this stand point. The movie would have been absolutely a failure if you would have went backwards and talked more about naturals. The object is to strip us down first and build us back up. Doing it any other way sounds PREACHY AND INEFFECTIVE. Then it would be almost any other BLACK movie. We have to move past the Dirty laundry theory We need the cold water thrown in our faces….stop making excuses and get to the truth. He did a great job at not being so serious but delivered his message. Chris Rock very underrated and highly intellegent. Ya digg?

  • Anonymous says:

    i realize one of the links i added was wayyy to long here is shorter link to producer of my nappy roots interview and also the option to get netflix:

    http://www.yidio.com/my-nappy-roots-journey-through-black-hair-itage—dir.-r/id/978579584

    And about Chris Rock being a comedian…thats no excuse. If you are going to criticize someone for what they are doing its common sense to give them an alternative. If Im going to tell you to stop smoking Im going alternatives that can help you. Im not just going to poke fun at you for the whole world to see and give you absolutely no options of what else you can do. Chris Rock being a comedian has nothing to do with if he wasnt going to do ALL of his homework and research he should have just left it alone and used his stardom to promote other documentaries such as My Nappy Roots that does give you a well rounded picture.

  • SkinnyB says:

    I saw the movie and had to endure commentary from a group of militant naturals who spend the entire hour complaining about it. (I am currently rocking a TWA).

    The movie was done by Chris Rock, a comedian. It was meant to be funny and it was. It offered insight from Hollywood about the weave phenomena in the black community. It gave the scientific point of view with the scientist leaving a can of coke in undiluted sodium hydroxide. It tapped into the importance of hair to black women and the amount of money that we spend on it. It gave an interesting perspective on the black hair care industry through a behind the scenes look at the Bronner Brothers Hair show in Atlanta where African-Americans were poorly represented as revenue makers but clearly were revenue generators. Al Sharpton said no one needs black hair care products but black people. We don't own the companies that make the products only we have to use. He had an excellent point.

    Another interesting point was Chris Rock's trip to India to see the men and women who donate their hair in Hindu temples with no idea that hair will be processed and packaged for sale on US shelves.

    I think people were expecting it to be much deeper than it was. The militant natural girls sitting behind me were angry that Ice Tea was allowed to comment because his girlfriend is white. (So what)? At the end of the movie they were mad because not enough was mentioned about natural hair and I feel they wanted everyone to run out of the theater cutting their relaxed ends screaming giveus us free!.

    Lets be honest, if this film was about embracing your self, loving who you are and dealing with self-esteem and self-hate, it would have never made it to the box office.

  • curlychronicles says:

    I haven't seen it yet but I think I already knew that it wouldn't be this complex discussion on hair ..a true documentary would have a part 1, 2 and 3 and actually go in DEPTH from the times of slavery to modern day, interview naturals, those with relaxers, those who just did the big chop, those with locs, and those who have been natural for a long period of time. I'd still see it but mehhh I'm not expecting much. I agree that this would have been better had it been created by someone passionate about healthy, natural hair.

    I saw we get a curly production team on it and do a documentary indie style! I'll even record an interview 😛

  • Anonymous says:

    I also plan to see when it comes on on DVD. But I have noticed since I live in Detroit, a lot of girls wear long wigs…lots of extensions that they change weekly. I am talking about teenagers..where are they getting the money to spend on these types of products???? Which includes the accessories to keep this kind of style? How come they are ashamed of their hair? Cant you just use a straightening comb and make it work. Nope…gotta have extensions and wigs (curly, wavy, and straight), I mean weekly(I attend church weekly. I don't remember all that hair preparation in the 70's & 80's.

  • Tonya says:

    I saw the movie "Good Hair" and I too felt the natural (perm free)should have had more representation and understanding in the movie. It showed the dangers of the sodium hydroxide and the cost of weaves, but no real alternatives or how to care for your natural hair. Personally, I don't care what a woman does to her hair..perm, weave or natural. I had a perm for over twenty years and have been natural for five months so I am all about learning natural hair and embracing my curly hair…so since it was titled "Good Hair" I thought he Chris would have had something more about natural hair and encouraging the vast audience of black women (especially those who are suffering hair loss from weaves and perms) to EMBRACE their own hair. Too bad the women from Afro City were not on there…or Curly Nikki…because after black women saw how beautiful their hair was they would SURELY stop the LYEing (process). Oh and I thought he would have tried to tell the world that our hair is good and we have been lied to about good hair and what it is. We black folk have good hair in its natural state. PEACE

  • Anonymous says:

    I haven't seen the movie ATM, but I co-sign with everyone about Chris Rock being a comedian…I wasn't expecting him to delve into the real issues blacks throughout the world have with the term "good hair". I expected him to make us laugh at how much $$$ we spend on our hair, while also thinking about "why we do what we do". Yes, I hear he did put out all the dirty laundry, lol! I would love to hear reactions from non-black people IMO. For those who saw the movie, what was the take home message for them?

    I'm torn in between! I think it's important that women are educated on the dangers of relaxers, but I'm not sure how I feel about the comedic approach to black hair. Chris Rock poked fun at women who choose to wear weaves, but as natural women…some of us has had our share of being made fun of. My question for those who saw it, was there mockery? If so, do you feel he crossed the line in terms of mockery? Did he or other male commentators make you cringe during particular scenes? I'm asking this because, lol, sometimes I'm weary of a man's take on hair. Some of are so clueless and think they have the right to say what they want to say. I don't think it's fair for any man to make fun of a woman who wears her hair natural, relaxed, or weaved up without understanding the "why's" behind it. Dunno, a guy's take on hair can sometimes be similar to a guy's take on our weight…just something you don't comment on if you can't back it up with facts, lol. JMO no hard feelings.

    @blackbeauty123: Thanks for the link. I heard about her taking legal actions. Just hope everything works out for both the director and Chris Rock. There are LOTs of similarities. But I can see the importance of both films. Lol, I'm actually more interested in viewing My Nappy Roots than Good Hair. Wished I had known about the doc. when it was originally aired…never too late I guess. 🙂

  • ash says:

    I haven't seen "Good Hair," but I feel with all of the negative points, he probably should have left this topic to someone who was more passionate about it.

  • Unknown says:

    I have seen the movie, I actually saw it opening day in Atlanta. I was not expecting a deep in-depth documentary about the discrimination that many naturals face due to the decision to not use relaxers. I do believe a documentary has already been done regarding that, actually the creator of that documentary is suing Chris Rock. So, "Good Hair" was to be a light hearted documentary relating to some hair issues in the black community. I thought the documentary delivered on what it was intended to do. Chris Rock is a comedian, so to expect some deep level of concern about black hair would be unrealistic. I think it did enlighten a lot of people about the damages of relaxers. I actually have a friend who is considering no longer relaxing due to her seeing the movie. So, I do think even in it's lightheartedness, it did have some sort of an impact.

  • lovelyrett says:

    This sounds about right. I haven't seen the movie yet and was wondering if I should even spend my money on viewing it. I thought that it would be the was she described it. I felt that way by the way all of his interviews went. And for the 2nd time it has been confirmed. This movie/documentary should have been better than this! Especially since it's the 1st in a long time to cover the serious issue of the phrase "Good Hair".

  • Anonymous says:

    Incase you guys havent heard Chris Rock is being sued for Good Hair by a woman named Regina Kimbell who claim he stole her idea. Here a link:
    http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/celebrities/chris-rock-being-sued-for-good-hair

    This is Regina's website: http://www.mynappyrootsthemovement.com/
    and a link to extended youtube trailer of nappyroots:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eXmy341CMs

    this is a link of an interview so you can get to know the creator of my nappy roots and what inspired her:
    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:DtfrK4SQhkgJ:www.yidio.com/my-nappy-roots-journey-through-black-hair-itage—dir.-r/id/978579584+watch+my+nappy+roots+online&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    Lets ask ourselves, did Chris Rock's Good Hair movie get major exposure over Regina's documentary because he is a celebrity? How did the Good Hair make you feel afterward, did it leave you with feeling similar the emotions you felt if you saw Tyra's Good Hair segment, angry or like you weren't fully informed? Was Chris Rock intention to exploit us or to help us?

  • af says:

    sounds very interesting; it should be here in my city like this wknd so i'll go and see it then.
    i wasn't thinking there would be much of a discussion about natural hair.
    maybe he can do a movie about natural hair as kind of a part two. b/c i'm thinking that after people see this movie they might stop relaxing their hair and then say "okay now what do i do with my hair"?
    that's why these natural hair blogs are so important; for advice, tips, etc.

  • Unknown says:

    I hate the fact that people expected this movie to be about sides. The fact of the matter is this movie was NEVER intended to be a huge in-depth investigative piece. For what it was, it was a very good. It made no difference, that he did not focus on the natural hair. The fact of the matter is he discussed the dangers that relaxers pose. He expressed the tainted view that we as BLACK women/men have. As far as the highschool girls asked about natural hair being in the workplace… lets be honest, that discrimination does exist. Yes, people with natural hair are in corporate america but really what is the norm? The backlash that Chris Rock has been receiving is completely unnecessary. If you disagree then its just that simple. But the fact that people expected their own views to be supported I think is completely naive.
    I am transitioning and I have no intention to revert to relaxed hair, but at the same time if I wanted to go back to natural hair I don't think anything is wrong with that. The point of the matter is why I choose to have the hair that I do, whether it be weave, relaxed, or natural. That I understand and know that my hairstyle does not define me. And that point I think was conveyed by the film.

    Thanks for the review Tasia.

    p.s. Nikki there really isnt much for you to see besides the clips you've already seen the other scenes just really sorta explain a bit of what you have already seen. But it's still good to see in entirety. 🙂

  • Lauren S. says:

    I haven't seen the movie either, but I'm hoping to catch it this coming weekend. This "documentary" has been getting a lot of flack lately, but I think we all must remember that Chris Rock is a comedian whose purpose is to make us laugh. I don't plan on being totally enlightened about the plight of the black woman with her hair, or the self-hate that some women feel which is the reason they straighten their hair. I do, however, believe that Chris Rock has done an excellent job in starting the dialogue about African American women's obsession with their hair. Think about it…he may not have made the best points with his "documentary," the points he did make may not have been profound or even complete; but he has us all talking. Maybe that was his intent all along. Personally, I rock a natural and love it to pieces…I've even convinced my mom, little sister, a very close friend, and two bosses to grow out their relaxers (forwarding them the CurlyNikki site for support, of course). I had my hair straightened on Thursday to get a good trim, and I CAN NOT WAIT until it starts to fuzz up, so I can whip out the old twist-n-curl again. In my opinion, how a woman (black, white, or whatever) chooses to wear her hair should be her own choice. If it makes you feel fab, let your style work for you!

  • Jai says:

    I haven't seen the movie(I plan to see the bootleg version, he doesn't deserve my money). I saw a clip on youtube and a gentleman asked Chris why he didn't focus more on natural hair and he said because it's not entertaining. WOW!!! What I don't understand is how can he do this comedy(I don't call it a documentary) without his wife being in it? He claims he did this movie because one of his daughter's had an issue with her hair but you leave out your wife who wears a weave/perm. Why didn’t he start at home since that’s were the issue started? Did Chris show the celebrity weave wearers getting their hair done? I keep seeing the clips where he's in salons with people on "main street" not hollywood. He is around celebrities with weaves and perms in hollywood 24/7 so why wasn't his main focus on them because they spend the most money on their weaves/perms. If black women decide to perm their hair, wear weave or be natural that is their choice(I‘m natural). I believe some weaves and perms can be damaging if not used correctly but I don’t have to like it. I think I've said enough, thanks for your review Tasia

  • Monique says:

    I haven't seen the movie either. I live in Houston and the movie will be in theaters here this coming Friday. Right, now I plan to see the movie with a close friend who is transitioning. I recently did my BC on the 17th after transitioning since May of this year and I feel great! From the reviews I've seen so far, I wish that it did focus more on why relaxers are used, their history, and the history of the term good hair. Most people won't know that if they don't research it or take a AA history class. Just focusing on the weave epidemic makes black women look like we hate our hair and want to be like white people, or Indian people, etc… Focusing on why we relax or feel the need to relax out hair will give outsiders a better understanding. I for one was never taught to hate my natural, I just thought that relaxing it was the only way to make it manageable. I have 4a/4b hair and it is super thick, and after I had my mom do my BC, she told my that she relaxed my hair around 8 years old because my hair was so big and thick that it took hours to do and relaxing it made it easier to handle. I believe that relaxing our hair out of convenience is the main reason why most black women & naturally curly hair women do it.

  • b. says:

    I haven't seen the movie yet, and at this point I can't decide if I will even use up a Netflix selection once it's released to DVD. I appreciate the reviews (and I almost NEVER read movie reviews) b/c it confirms what I feared would happen (shallow treatment of a deep issue). Hair styling itself isn't "deep" but the surrounding politics and social implications are.

    I will say, however, that I don't know if too many minds will be changed after seeing the basic truth about relaxer damage and the origins of weave. If the knowledge of physical damage would change minds, relaxers wouldn't be so popular, since many women (and some men) just have to look in the mirror at the scabs on their own heads. (I know everyone doesn't end up with scabs, but I know it happens for many folks.) Many of the same ppl don't care where hair (or anything else) comes from as long as they get what they want, so the origins of weave may not matter to many. Sad but true.

    Even if a handful of people reevaluate their opinions of hair, that's a good thing.

  • Wes says:

    I think Tasia is right on point… I had the same issues w/ the movie myself.

  • MizzTriniRiRi says:

    I saw the film at a screening a few weeks ago in DC at which Chris Rock and Nia Long introduced the movie. It was also attended by some prominent figures in DC, Capitol Hill staffers, and the wife of DC mayor Adrian Fenty.

    I like your review of the movie Tasia. It echoes alot of my feelings about it. I thought it was positive in that it would likely spark alot of discussion about the topic (which it has, so in that way it was a success). However, I left the theater feeling really disappointed because I thought Chris Rock had a real opportunity to present a balanced view of the issue, and he didn't. However, in the final analysis, he is a comedian whose wife wears her hair long and straight (naturally, or by a weave, I don't know), so I had to chalk it up to, "oh well, I shouldn't have expected more".

    In my opinion, the laundry was aired, and it is dirty indeed. I had no idea the true origins of weave hair. Something seems not right about the fact that womens' hair that is shorn as part of a sacred religious practice ends up in weaves and traded in such a fashion.

    The scene that stuck in my mind, and which ultimately doomed the movie to me, was the discussion by the group of high-school students featuring one girl rocking a fly fro. After the other weaved up and relaxed girls basically told the natural girl they couldn't see her being hired in corporate america or a law firm with her hair (not true, by the way, and I say this as someone who just graduated from law school), the film just moves on. NO discussion of the issue at all, and no discussion about natural hair at all.

    I also almost had tears in my eyes at the scenes with the young kids talking about relaxers. I am all for people making educated decisions about their hair, and in that sense I think the film was good. People can now make more informed decisions after seeing the major chemical ingredient of relaxers, as well as the origins of weave hair.

  • Shelly says:

    I saw the movie yesterday and agree 100% with Tasia's review. The really interesting experience about this movie was not what I viewed on the screen but the fact that the blacks in the theatre were the minority. I couldn't help but to think are they here to see this movie because they are curious or nosey.

  • Ms. Harmony says:

    Unfortunately, I didn't see the movie because it didn't come to my city. However, based on the review above I can agree with most parts. However, we must look at the source/producer of the movie, Chris Rock. Now don't get me wrong I LOVE Chris Rock but he is a comedian. So the lack of balance that was mentioned in the review above, that I agree should of been there, doesn't surprise me that it's not there.

  • Janelle Robinson, MPH says:

    I haven't seen the movie, but enough of the trailers and interviews have made me not too particular about going to see it (I'll wait for the DVD). I have been natural my entire life and the perception of "Good Hair" has followed me for just as long. Many people assume the reason for me wearing my hair in it's natural state is because I have what they would call "Good Hair". When in actuality relaxers were banned from me as a child and as an adult I never wanted one. I embraced my hair from the beginning. I never envied the "Relaxed Girls". I always wanted the curly look, but wasn't exactly sure how to maintain my curls. The movie, from what I have seen only in reviews and trailers, would have been better had they focused more on women that wear their hair in its' natural state rather than the obsession with weaves. Thanks for the movie review.

  • Anonymous says:

    I haven't seen the movie but I cant wait to but I am so over these reviews and thoughts on the movie. Many of us black women need to seriously let it go. I'm truly convinced many of us will never get it and that's so, so sad.

    Its not that serious for anyone to be writing a thesis about the movie but in reality, it's deeper than deep because so many of us need to wake up. The disdain for this movie speaks volumes.

  • Anonymous says:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I whole heartedly agree with “From a socioeconomic standpoint, the movie definitely highlighted the revenue-drawing aspect of the hair industry. Some even called it the exploitation side of the business, with AAs buying most of the product but reaping very very little of the revenue.” and have not visited an asian-owned beauty supply shop in about 6-7 months. I either order online or buy Aubrey Organics or make my own. On the PJ tip, my latest purchases came from here: justnaturalskincare.com

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