Rock the Good Hair

I write about black women and hair a lot. In fact, I’d love to one day write a book on the topic. I would shoot for a documentary, but, as I’m sure you know by now, comedian Chris Rock has beat me to it.

Rock’s documentary Good Hair, which hits select theaters tomorrow and opens nationwide Oct. 23, has received plenty of buzz (and a lawsuit).

Here’s an excerpt from a review of the movie by the Hartford Courant:

What’s so funny about so many black women wanting “white” hair? Plenty, it turns out, in Chris Rock‘s surprisingly insightful documentary, “Good Hair.”

The well-known history of black people straightening their natural curls is more tragedy than comedy, rooted in the bygone belief that all things European were better than anything African. But Rock sheds new light on this old story through a poignant mix of interviews, investigation and his trademark satire.

More than a dozen famous and beautiful black women sit for Rock’s camera, ranging from the sage Maya Angelou to video vixen Melyssa Ford to an interior designer with a skin disease that has left her proudly bald. Their testimony illuminates today’s reality: Black women who straighten their hair are not ashamed of their heritage — like women the world over, they just want to work with what they have.

We talk about natural hair a lot on this blog, but I want to hear from all ladies. If you proudly straighten your hair we want to know your story too.



  1. Unfortunately I straighten my hair for both professional and selfish reasons. First – I don’t want to cut all of my hair off. I wouldn’t mind going natural if I didn’t have to start from scratch. Second – I’m in a field where the percentage of blacks is VERY VERY VERY LOW. I already struggle with proving I’m just as capable as the person next to me in producing good work. I don’t need the extra trouble “blending in.” I know that sounds like a sell-out answer, but it’s what I choose to deal with in my life.

  2. I understand completely Chantay.It was hard cutting my hair off. I guess I felt that length had some strange relation to beauty. However when I went natural I never even considered my hair being an issue on my job. Interestingly enough when I worked in the middle of nowhere is Pennsylvania I had a white doctor walk up to me during rounds and ask if she coulkd touch my hair. I dont have a problem with that usually and often invite people who are fascinated with my hair to touch it, She however was not satisfied with just one touch. She walked away and came back for more. At this point I was annoyed. For one I was rounding on my patients and felt it was inappropriate. If she wasnt going to be my attending in the next few weeks I would have said something. On another note, when I interviewed for my current job I spent on interview talking solely about my hair. I am sure this was the case because I was interviewing with an african american who was also natural but it shows that society is slowly but surely accepting our heritage and self expression

  3. I dont know if any of you saw the reaction his appearance on the Oprah Show got. But a lot of black women were hot about it. Saying he exposed the black woman. and one woman even state that “white women already have an advantage over black women”. How awful is that to think of your race like that?!

    But its going to be very interesting to see the reactions to the movie.

  4. I saw the Oprah Show, but didn’t know about the reaction. I love my natural hair now, but I’m still figuring out how to work with it. I think black women give other black women more problems when they go natural and it’s really sad.

  5. Who would have ever thought that one day this would be such a HUGE topic? I think that people have to figure out what works for them and go with that. And do it for the right reasons. As long as people are doing whatever they do to their hair to make themselves happy and not conformation to some society standard, then I think that if you wear it straight, natural or bald, it’s fine. But a person has to be comfortable in their own skin.

    For Chantay, if you have or can find a good stylist willing to work with you and you can be patient, you actually won’t have to cut all your hair off and start from scratch. Since I wasn’t getting relaxers that often anyway, I decided just to stop and go completely natural and one thing that I decided is that I was not cutting my hair as well…and I haven’t. It’s going to take more patience with the growing out process b/c it will seem to take longer if you don’t just cut it off but it all works out in the end. Hope that helps.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.