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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
In This Superficial Industry, Plenty Goes On Beneath the Surface
Chris Rock digs deep into the various elements at play in the big-money world of black hairstyling. In between interviews with the small local businesses who are unashamedly making a killing on weaves, (one blue-haired stylist with a full waiting room proudly proclaims that her work "starts at a thousand") Rock finds some unsettling truths about the origins of this product, the toxicity of the ever-popular "relaxers" women are gladly globbing onto their scalps, and the showy world of celebrity hairdressers in Atlanta. Rock's no Michael Moore, and the investigative bits are revealing but not particularly thorough; he's at his best when he's in his element, joking with patrons and poking fun at the hapless boyfriends mournfully waiting for their wallets to run out of steam in the lobby. A bit long at ninety-six minutes; it's only got enough gas for seventy or eighty, but it's decent fun while it lasts.
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