Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why did it take a black man to make a documentary about black women's hair care?

After years of debate and discouse between black women on our hair in its many states of being, it took a black man to make a documentary about it.

Comedian Chris Rock has been recorded as saying that he was inspired by his daughter's early acculturation of the psychological damage that is connected to black women's self-concepts of beauty around our hair. According to Rock, his daughter made a comment about a friend having "good" hair.

Though I have not seen the movie, and am curious on how it is carried out, I think the discussion around the fact that a black man is exposing this issue is profound; especially when black women are concerned about how their man sees them.

Last night on the Mo'Nique show (can somebody please tell her to stop screaming all the damn time), Chris Rock admitted to wearing a gheri curl and a texturizer. He briefly discussed his movie, but there was a comedic line he made that struck me.

Rock said that "Black people love white people." This comment insinuated that our "love" was to our default, and we would go as far as to emulate white aesthetic to our own mental, physical and economic decline.

Ironically, as Chris Rock talked about the monopoly of Indian women's hair being used largely in human hair weaves and wigs, Indian women themselves are obsessed with their hair texture and color too. Skin lightening cream and straightening perms are HUGE in India.

India is a very color conscious society and current Indian aesthetic values very fair skin and light colored eyes (especially green, gray and blue). Additionally, Indian women get what is called a "Japanese permanent" where they perm their hair to be extremely straight like the texture of Japanese hair. Excuse my deviation, I just had to mention this fact.

Back to Black
While Rock enjoys the pleasure of shaving his processed hair off and wearing short cuts, many black women feel they cannot do such a thing. We think that long hair or any amount of hair symbolizes our femininity. Another issue, we get flack from our family and friends, in particular our fathers, lovers, and other men in our lives who disapprove of our short hair.

I can recall a 2001 interview I did with the late Johnny Cochran, the famous Los Angeles lawyer known for his defense in the OJ trial and Black Panther political prisoner, Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt. He mentioned that he disagreed with his wife (he had just recently married at the time) cutting her "long" wavy hair into a short cropped style. According to him, her response was something like "get over it," because he saw long hair as more beautiful than short hair.

So even our "enlightened" brothers can go there.

But back to Chris Rock. I applaud him for addressing his issue for the sake of his daughter and all black women. I'm still scratching my head in wonderment on how he used the permed out Al Sharpton as a point of reference for "good hair" when this guy cannot leave the "creamy crack" alone.

Maybe we can connect Rock's "Good Hair" documentary to Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" to see how we've been getting screwed every way come Sunday.

0 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista: