Director: Jeff Stilson
Writers: Lance Crouther, Paul Marchand, Chris Rock, Chuck Sklar, & Jeff Stilson
Starring: Chris Rock
Chris Rock's five-year-old daughter came home from school one day in tears, asking "Daddy, why don't I have good hair?" To figure out where she would have gotten that idea, Rock embarks on a worldwide trip to learn the ins and outs of African-American hair culture.
Several segments of the film (too much time, in my opinion) is spent at the Bronner Brothers Hair Battle, held "where all black decisions are made--Atlanta," according to Rock. These segments follow four hairstylists as they prepare and (eventually) compete. Two major aspects of African-American hair culture are also discussed: weaves (which the average woman will spend thousands of dollars on) and relaxer (sodium hydroxide, a straightening agent), the latter of which made me feel like a stupid white boy for thinking some African-Americans had straight hair naturally. The movie is a cavalcade of stars, with everyone from Ice-T to Maya Angelou and Al Sharpton to Salt-N-Pepa. In terms of being educational and entertaining, the movie definitely succeeds.
But does it fulfill its promise? By the end, the only answer I had was "[weaves and relaxer, while unnatural] are now a part of African-American culture, and it's always been that way." Also, the rest of the non-white audience walked out 40 minutes into my showing, so the film may be failing with what I'd imagine to be its target demographic. I also noticed the MPAA seems to be loosening its grip: this PG-13 film used both the N-word and F-word twice, respectively; usually, films barely get a single use of the F-word before they're bumped up to an R rating.