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Rec Room: Adaeze Elechi: Good Hair

November 13, 2009


Adaeze ElechiDear non-black people,

Before one of you tries to put your hands in my hair again, go and see the hilarious yet informative documentary Good Hair. Please.

Love,

Adaeze

What began with Chris Rock’s cute-as-your-momma’s-apron daughter asking him why she didn’t have “good hair,” has sparked a nation-wide conversation about the many significances of hair in the black community. Rock entered the complex world of black women’s hair as a complete novice and so the information in the documentary is easy for non-experts to digest. It is a journey of discovery for Rock, and a familiar cosmos for those who have “ethnic” hair.

The film touches not only on ideas of beauty in the world, but also the effects of the U.S.’s blind consumerism—human hair wigs and weaves come from the heads of girls and women in Asia who have sacrificed their hair to their gods (Surprise!). Little do these devout ladies know that someone on the other side of the world has bled out thousands of dollars just to tote that same sacrificed hair…

Rock treats us to experiments which seem purely comedic (trying to sell black afro hair to a wig/weave shop) until it exposes something more sickening underneath (the shop owner saying, Nobody wants to look like they just came out of Africa. They like nice, straight hair. It’s more natural.)

I recommend this film to everyone, and even if you walk out of there still not understanding the complexities of black hair, you would have had a good laugh and seen and heard some pretty thought-provoking stuff. You will also leave with helpful tips about “weave sex” (hint: hands go anywhere but the hair), and when it’s OK to spontaneously touch a black woman’s hair (hint: never).

Bio: Adaeze Elechi is an editorial assistant at Guernica. Read her last recommendation “here”:http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1390/rec_room_adaeze_elechi_passing/.

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