“Good Hair”, directed by Jeff Stilson, presented by and starring Hollywood actor Chris Rock, was a much needed documentary for black men and women around the globe. The film sheds light on issues plaguing the African American community (and by extension the African diaspora), as it relates to the perception people, not only of African decent but others, have about natural hair.
The film commences with a montage of archival footage of different people from the past, like actors, models, showgirls, commercial models and more, with focus on their hair and their interaction with it. The film uses talking heads such as celebrities, in the form of interviews to get their take on the issue. It also engages the general public by adopting practices from the participatory documentary mode of film making as well as presenter driven documentary, whereby Chris Rock would go around to different salons, and he even traveled as far as the temples in India, to interact with people.
The film has as its backdrop, a hair show, which is often referred to throughout the film. Chris would keep up to date with the contestants by checking in on the daily routine, on the rehearsal process for their show and even their everyday personal life outside of doing hair.
What I enjoyed most about this film, was the comedic backdrop, and the way in which the truth is depicted. In terms of comedy, the presenter chosen, Chris Rock, is a naturally funny person as he makes a living doing comedy, as a result his interactions with the participants, and his mannerisms added comedic relief even though the topic at hand is socially sensitive. It made the viewers more at ease, and also acted as an ice breaker for participants and interviewees to open up and speak and interact with him more freely. Comedy also occurred where there were inserts of funny scenes from cartoon and old films relating to hair. In terms of truthfulness, included in the interview were remarks from people of all races, good, bad, ignorant and constructive comments surrounding natural hair. It is important that people see the truth so clearly and that the information not be sugar coated as people usually walk on eggshells around the topic and very seldom mention it. It gives insight on the way people truly feel towards those with natural hair and how those people themselves feel about themselves and others.
The film was shot okay, it was not very creative and extravagant or dramatic in the framing and showcasing of participants, but it did not take away from the topic at hand, it was marginal. I believe if more stylistic cinematography was applied, it would have taken away from the topic at hand. The sound was also very clear and well recorded and the film did a great job at informing the audience about Natural Hair and problems plaguing people with kinky and curly natural hair.
Good Hair 1hr 34mins