Good Hair

"Is that gal gonna be high maintenance?" This seemed to be a key question posed by the fellows in a lively barbershop when comedian Chris Rock ("Everybody Hates Chris") asked them for some candid observations about dating black women. They all agreed that their sex lives have been sorely impacted by the "Hands Off!" aspect of dating a woman with a weave; one went so far as to name the actual date (in 1987!) when he last had a worry-free date.

The jaw-dropping particulars I learned about what constitutes "Good Hair" and what it costs in time, money and social dues was only part of this entertaining and insightful documentary. For example, most of the hair used in weaves is from India. On average, each Indian woman has her head shaved three times in her lifetime. One "religion" encourages people to bargain their hair against some aspect of their lives. If things work out for them, they go to a "Tonsure" temple and pay off their debt with their hair! These temples, in turn, sell the hair to Europe and the United States. Revenues for that religion are second only to those of the Vatican!

There is never a moment when Chris Rock isn't engaged, curious and wryly entertaining. We are as incredulous as he when we learn of the billions of dollars spent each year on hair and hair products. He represents all of us as he reels from information about the toxic chemicals used by black people to "relax" their hair (some are toddlers of FOUR). He questions the economics of a $1,000+ hairdo when the rent is past due. He laughs at the absurdity of black hair being "Bad Hair," but acknowledges the power of marketing and peer pressure.

We were with him 100 percent when he went home to his two darling girls and kissed what he called, their "nappy little heads." He reassured them that he loved what was inside their heads and didn't really care what was on the outside.

I am encouraged to see clear-eyed and entertaining documentaries that question what constitutes "Beauty." Kudos to fellows like Chris Rock and Darryl Roberts ("America The Beautiful") who care enough to see the problems (please see the alphabetized link on my Home Page) and who try to shine some light on them.