Chris Rock's Good Hair: British White Male

Finally got to see this. Gosh, didn't realise I was going to have to wait this long.

I sat down to watch this with my husband, who is white British. He grew up in an entirely white neighbourhood, didn't have any black friends until he met me 10 years ago and the only black women he had ever seen on TV and taken any notice of was Grace Jones in a James Bond film, the Cosby Show and the Fresh Prince. So I thought that having a black wife it might be a good idea for him to see this radically bizarre film. I had previously tried to describe to him what it was I spent an entire Saturday doing to my hair but I dont think he really got why I had to spend so much time and money tinkering with it and what type of psychological craziness we as black women deal with.

So after the film had finished I asked my husband several quick questions?

AD: What did you think of the film?
H: It was all right, if not bizarre

AD: Have you ever seen my hair in its natural state?
H: Wasn't it it in its natural state when I met you?
AD: No that was a curly perm (which I then had to go on to explain)
H: Then No!

AD: Would you prefer that I shaved my head or had a weave?
H: If it meant that we could eat that week then I think you should shave your head, but if we could afford it I would rather you had straight hair, but I love you and your hair is part of you and I accept it and you however you are.

AD: Would you let our daughter or our son straighten their hair?
H: I didn't realise how harmful the chemical could be, but I would accept whatever they wanted they wanted to do to their hair as long as they were old enough to make that decision and pay for it themselves. (laughs)

He also thought that it was more just a exaggeration of what all vain women and men go through not just those who are black. Whether it be by dying their hair or turning themselves orange with self tan. He referred to the two contesant on the Bronner Brother Show, one who had botox that looked extremely painful and the other that was wearing 4 inch heels on stage.
He felt that black women seemd so comfortable with their figures but have this obsesseion with their hair, whereas white women (he has two sisters and a mum) spend countless hours and pounds worrying abouth their weight and their figures. 

He also said he didn't realise how much the industry was worth and didn't realise it was controlled by other nationalities.

All in all he said he had learned something and it was an interesting documentary.

My take on the film:

I am litle confused as to why so many people had such a problem with a film that highlighted the contradiction of the black female (and some male) and their hair.  I know African Americans have a slightly different take on this, but being third generation of a caribbean family living here in England, hair and anything to do with colour is generally a taboo subject.

The idea that we straighten our hair to look white is a bit of a reach though, I certainly would not like to have the hair of any of my white colleagues, frankly its dull, drab and flat and I love the variety that I get with my kinky, coily hair. I would however comment that fashions change, the afro is seen as 70s dated style, trying to make a statement and the current style of all women, black, white, purple and yellow is a more scandinavian look. My Japanese friends dye their hair blond and my white friends cant live without their GHDs to make their hair straight, to conform to todays fashion. However if the fashion changed tomorrow and the curly perm was back in I am sure we would all toss out our hot combs.

In England, unless you live in a big city you will more than likely be in a minority of the people around you. Up until two months ago I was the only black female at my place of work for the past 5 years, and one black male had worked there for a couple of months in that period. I never used to talk about my hair up until recently and the idea that for two of the years that they had known me I had sported a weave was a surprise. One of my white colleagues did surprise me when she forgot her GHDs at a friends and freaked out for a week that her hair wasn't straight enough, I mean how would she cope. So it really does boil down to our society and the way we interpret and look at beauty. Obviously my opinions are one of a black English girl and the American market although similar is a little different to ours. Also it took almost two years to be released here and for Chris to appear on several chat shows here (talking about other films - 'Death at a funeral' etc) before this was even mentioned on mainstream British TV.

I think Chris Rock did a good job addressing so many of the issues in one film and making it entertaining enough that I didn't fall asleep.
You can buy this film from Leilu's Amazon by clicking on Add to Basket  or it is now available to rent on Love Film!

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity


Dauna said...

LOL! I should ask my Canadian half-Greek husband what he thinks. I am sure he'll say something similar to yours. He has a unique view of me doing our three girls hair as well. Last year it took upwards of 8 hours to do them all. I have since shortened the process ~ which included one of my daughters asking to cut off all her hair (to donate to make a wig, no less!). What a time saver!

Leilu Dallas said...

I guess he would have a unique perspective with you and three daughters, it must seen at least a little strange to him that we spend so much time on a simple thing like hair!

Dee O. said...

This was really interesting to read!!! Thank you for sharing your husband's perspective! :)