Talkin’ ’bout Good or Bad Hair!

Say it Rah-shay By Oct 24, 2009 No Comments

So last night I went to see Chris Rock’s docu-dramadey Good Hair. This is not a new subject for me; hair talk has been and is a ‘thing’ that just is. Everybody’s got their something and for scores of Black Women, including yours truly, that something is hair. For those not in the know, Good Hair was born from Chris Rock’s beautiful daughter wondering why she doesn’t have good hair. Again for those not in the know, good hair is defined as hair that is NOT nappy and kinky, knotty and will not frizz or draw up if wet.

The whole Good Hair/Bad Hair debate has been going on long before me and will probably continue long after. Good hair/Bad Hair has taken on may lives and persona’s. Good Hair is a term that I have heard from many a mouth when waxing cosmetically about someone’s long flowing, not needing a relaxer hair, a term that neo soul types are trying to adopt to promote natural hair dos and locs and its a term I’ve heard kids utter as they bust on each other or try to hook up with so and so (yes, it’s still 2009).

As a kid growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s I too was taken on a Magellan like quest to find the next best thing to get, and keep, my hair straight and hopefully soft and silkily flowing down my back. Solid Gold was the big show at the time and I used to love one of the dancer’s, Darcell, hair. Although its akin to treason, I will fully admit that I would have gladly given my left arm and two fingers from my right hand to have hair that didn’t have to be straightened, relaxed, could get wet. My mom, aunt and grandmother had similar wishes for my sister’s and my hair as well as for their own. Faithful worshippers at the temple of Miss Clairol and Revlon it seemed like a chemistry lab every few weeks in our house. Despite this, my grandmother would always bemoan our nappy hair, hair that had somehow gotten nappy and kinky through a genetics disorder of our father.

With The Bee I am just as guilty even if I don’t say the words. When she gets her hair done sometimes she gets a ponytail, extensions and other styles that flow softly down her back or drape over one shoulder. I’ve encouraged her to loc but I don’t force it. She has been just getting her own hair braided and has been pleased with the results. I have caught her yanking at the ends of her braids wishing they were ALL the way down her back.


What is it about Hair that causes such a tizzy?

Back to the movie in no particular order:

The women, celebrities mainly, who were interviewed were honest, unapologetic and forth coming about wearing a weave and what they do for their hair. They didn’t judge, make excuses or over explain, they said their piece and were confident about it.

There was one scene talking to high school aged young ladies about hair and of the five, one worked a small natural. When asked about their appearance in the ‘real world’ the girls all called the natural sis out and told her that they would probably not think she was able to handle herself in a professional arena because of the way she looked. Honestly, while I love a natural do, she did look a little disheveled. Natural hair takes work too now!

I cannot believe people pay thousands of dollars for hair! One of the reasons that I loc is because I couldn’t stand to part with the money and time required to keep my hair up. Wow! One place charges up to $3500 for a weave. A weave! That better be hella good and in my head for a few months!

There was a four year old getting a relaxer. FOUR! What does it say about our culture when we will put chemicals on a kid’s hair so that she can be ‘pretty’? Chemicals that can give you a chemical burn (have you seen The Dark Knight? Two Face anyone?)

Derek J. The boots. ’nuff said.

Jason, the blonde wiry white guy who is one of the best hair stylists in Atlanta.

The whole way hair is acquired. In India people do Tonsure and sacrifice their hair in a ceremony called Tonsure and the hair is shaved off OR an unsuspecting woman has her hair cut off while sleeping or not paying attention. Dang!

There is a whole underlying skin color thing that was not addressed but maybe taking a light approach with hair will be the place where we can open up to the next place. It seems to have made my friends from other cultures a little more aware of why I freak when they walk up to me and try to play in my hair, why I bitch and moan about washing my hair and how it is that today I have short hair and tomorrow its long. In the tradition of always wanting what you can’t have, the same hair that I have fussed about for years is not the object of admiration from some who like to give me a shout with, “Hey Sis, I like your locs (or dreads or dreadlocks or, you get the picture).

India.Arie said it best: I am not my hair and let’s let her end it:

*it’s with weaves, not the 1000$ ones from the movie but their poorer yaki relations

I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.

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