2 posts tagged "Good Hair"
Forget oil pastels and watercolors. Hair is emerging as both artistic medium and muse of late. Between architectural experiments on the runway and recent films like Chris Rock’s Good Hair, shiny, frizzy, straight, and curly strands alike are taking center stage. Hair’em Scare’em (Gestalten, 2009) will be released stateside this month and aims to add to this increasingly popular discourse with 224 pages of artistic expression in graphic, interior, fashion, and jewelry design as well as photography and illustration. Particularly entertaining are an image of a horse head with Bettie Page-style bangs and a curled-under mane, a necklace with false eyelashes as charms, and an intricately arranged bouquet of extensions, perched in a crystal vase and displayed as a centerpiece. You’ll never look at your own mop top the same way again.
When Chris Rock’s five-year-old daughter asked him about her ”bad hair,” Rock was blown away that a child could already be aware—and concerned—about the appearance of her natural locks. Curious as to what, in effect, differentiates the good from the bad, he set out to document what black women (and some men) go through in their ongoing attempts to look beautiful. Last night, the Cinema Society and Target hosted a screening of Roadside Attractions and HBO Films’ Good Hair, in which Rock traverses the globe to reveal the details of the multimillion-dollar African-American hair industry. As he moves from New York to L.A. to India—the origin of most human hair weaves and extensions—Rock fleshes out the film with celebrity interviews, good old-fashioned quality time spent in neighborhood barber and beauty shops, and a trip to the famous Bronner Bros. hair show in Atlanta, which culminates in a hair-cutting battle royal of sorts that Rock uses to pace the movie. The result is an informative commentary on the social constructs of beauty, which is at times funny and equally shocking (“kiddie perms”? really?). Most fascinating was getting Nia Long’s insights on “weave sex” (“All I’ll say is stay on top,” she said, so as not to mess up what in some cases is a $3,500 hairpiece) and hearing celebs like Eve, Meagan Good, Raven-Symoné, and Salt-N-Pepa attest to their trials and tribulations with “the creamy crack,” i.e., sodium hydroxide relaxers. (Pep’s now-famous asymmetrical curly look from the “Push It” video? An accidental salvage job after her sister burnt the right side of her scalp with a relaxer.) As viewers filed out of New York’s IFC Center after the premiere, I overheard a moviegoer ask Rock why Beyoncé wasn’t in the film. “Because she would’ve been it,” Rock said, alluding to the fact that Sasha Fierce would’ve stolen the show. But I’m pretty sure that honor goes to Jason Griggers, the effeminate hairdresser with the blond, Zac Efron-esque side-swept hair who took second place at the Bronner Bros. hair show. That he and the competition’s winner, Derek J—who wore three-inch, custom-made stiletto boots to cut hair onstage—don’t have a Bravo reality show is a crime.