- Kaleem Aftab
- 24 June 2010
Chris Rock with mouth largely agape enters Louis Theroux presenter territory with this documentary on the relationship between African-American women and their hair. The desire of black Americans to get rid of the kinks in their afro and get more 'white' hairstyles has been a hot topic amongst African Americans for decades: Malcolm X rallied against it, Spike Lee’s School Daze poked fun at the lengths girls will go and of course Michael Jackson was constantly chastised for using relaxers. Rock, as is his shtick, chooses comedy over social political commentary at every turn on this adventure that takes him from beauty shops in Harlem to hair manufacturing plants in India. For the uninitiated the observations and discoveries are often startling. The cost of haircuts and the sexual habits of women with wigs and weaves is bewildering. Rock wonders why the hair products aimed only at black folk are pretty much only manufactured by companies owned by whites and Koreans. There is a plethora of memorable interviews with stars such as Nia Long and Ice T (he has the last line in the movie and it’s a killer). Where director Jeff Stilson falls flat is with the fascination with a kitsch hair show in Atlanta that is supposed to give the documentary a dramatic arc but instead is like pouring water on an otherwise fine weave.
Selected release from Fri 25 Jun.