On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.
Chris Rock, a man with two daughters, asks about good hair, as defined by Black Americans, mostly Black women. He visits Bronner Brothers' annual hair convention in Atlanta. He tells us about sodium hydroxide, a toxin used to relax hair. He looks at weaves, and he travels to India where tonsure ceremonies produce much of the hair sold in America. A weave is expensive: he asks who makes the money. We visit salons and barbershops, central to the Black community. Rock asks men if they can touch their mates' hair - no, it's decoration. Various talking heads (many of them women with good hair) comment. It's about self image. Maya Angelou and Tracie Thoms provide perspective.Written by
Fascinating exploration of the topic, I learned a lot.
Made me think about what I put on my hair when I relax it and reminded me what beauty standards I adhere to and the racial issues around expecting everyone to have the same kind of straight hair.
Touches on the further complication of being expected to be more like another race, in order to be "beautiful". I never even thought about the fact that these women are buying hair from women in India (who don't even know their hair is being sold sometimes) in order to wear it on their heads in order to look "less black". Some people even ironically called it a more "natural" look. I was really sad to see that only 1 woman defending actual "natural" unrelaxed/no weave hair. And even sadder to hear a group of African-American women say they would not take another woman seriously on a job interview if she had 'nappy hair' - that "nappy" hair with a suit is a contradiction!
I'd have liked more historical context (less focus on the contest). Especially as they lamented that the industry was not run by African Americans, I was a little surprised there was no mention of Madam Walker's (first self made female millionaire) relaxers but I guess he was focusing on current day issues, not the history of hair products for African hair.
My only real complaint is that I wish he'd kept the focus on women.
There was too much sexism & judgement from the men. It's very easy for them to judge when they're not req'd to maintain their own hair. They can just go bald or very short. If they were required (for the sake of good looks) to have long hair, I'm sure they would do the same thing. And the assumptions that the men are paying for women's hair maintenance was annoying. The hypocrisy of expecting women to maintain this hair but complain about the price and that it couldn't be wet or touched was a bit annoying. And Ice-T just reminded me why he's a douche, still thinking like a pimp. And the music executive with the goat hair looking goatee points & some serious sexist comments just came off as a huge loser.
17 of 23 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this