Editor’s note: The afterward commodity is an op-ed, and the angle bidding are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Watch “Good Hair” chargeless on-demand on theGrio’s alive app. Download it here.
Chris Rock’s documentary Acceptable Beard is over a decade old, but it’s still a alluring attending at a circuitous aspect of Blackness. It’s additionally one of the best important films in Rock’s continued career. The blur fits his appearance of ambidextrous with acute capacity in an honest and funny way.
Good Beard tackles bang the affair of how Black women’s beard choices are generally shaped by Eurocentric adorableness standards—so abounding of us accept the straighter and lighter, the better. Women allocution about how they accept to action to abrasion their beard in accustomed ways, abnormally if they’re in a career that puts them in advanced of cameras. These are the sorts of things that are not generally said out loud, but Rock dives in with abundant artlessness and amusement to accomplish these difficult capacity added discussable.
Throughout Acceptable Hair, Rock sits with a ample choir of beautiful, acclaimed Black women—including Maya Angelou, Nia Long, Melyssa Ford, Lauren London and Meagan Good—and he gets them all to allege about their beard routines and their beard dreams. Angelou says, “Hair is a woman’s glory,” as she describes how a woman’s continued beard is article for her ancestors to booty pride in.
But others allocution about how abundant they pay for weaves and how images of Beyoncé and others led them to appetite beeline beard alike admitting accomplishing that is aching and hard—relaxer is a actinic that flattens curls and naps. It kills the Africanoid impulses of our hair. Is it applicable that the aggregation that dominates the relaxer bazaar is amid in a burghal that was already the basic of the confederacy? That aggregation is endemic by a Black man, but as Rock dives added into the economics of hair, we ascertain that there are actual few Black bodies profiting from the gigantic bulk of money Black bodies absorb on beard and products. The all-inclusive majority of the money we absorb on beard is activity into Asian pockets.
Rock’s documentary is a all-around attending at the beard industry—he starts in New York beard salons but again campaign to India, area best American complect beard originates. He goes to a temple area women cut off their continued beard as a sacrifice, allotment of their adoration for God’s blessings. In the best important and memorable allotment of the doc, he humanizes and gives acceptation to the beard that so abounding of us complect into our heads, but it doesn’t leave you activity guilty. Women in India barber their active agreeably and for baronial reasons. Their best helps adorn their temple, and they feel empowered and afterpiece to God back they’re bald.
Then Rock leaps to Compton, Calif., for some applesauce because the banana in him needs to account the calmness of the cruise to India. In a comedic sketch, he campaign about aggravating to advertise Black hair, and of course, he fails. No one wants to buy Black hair. It may be a laugh-to-keep-from-crying moment for abounding people, but it may additionally admonish others how little the apple appreciates absolute Black bodies.
Rock finishes his adventure in Atlanta at an ballsy beard appearance area some of the country’s best talented, artistic and affecting hairstylists do beard onstage in crazy situations. But in the end, this is all a adulation letter to Rock’s two daughters. We alpha with him talking about them and end with him talking through the blur to them. It’s a lovely, honest and claimed bookend to this journey. Rock’s bulletin to them brings home that this blur is not aloof about absorbing and informing. It’s allotment of his assignment as a ancestor to Black girls who charge abating and adulation in a apple that’s consistently cogent them that their bristling beard isn’t acceptable hair. This is a able documentary that charcoal accordant to this day.
Touré is the host of the podcast “Touré Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is additionally the columnist of seven books.
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