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Good Hair

GOOD HAIR is inspired by Chris Rock’s 3-year old daughter who asked, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” this film explores the way hairstyles impact the activities, relationships, and self-esteem of African Americans.

Director: Jeff Stilson
Year: 2009
Time: 96 min

 Good Hair
(2009) on IMDb

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Ways to Influence

Share this film. Give others a chance to learn how hair has been tangled up with history and politics for some, while for others hair has simply been a celebration of beauty and creative self-expression.

Sign the petition, Tell Congress To Stop Discrimination Against Natural Black Hair, regarding the U.S. Air Force regulation that discriminates against African American women serving in the Air Force.

Donate your hair to Locks for Love, a non-profit charity that “provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.”

Check out Natural Girls United, created and designed by Karen Byrd to provide dolls with amazing hairstyles and textures. Byrd believes: “There is a serious need for our young girls to be able to have dolls that look like them. It is something that affects their self-esteem and confidence, and how they feel about themselves. But each day we learn that it is important to show them and teach them that their beauty is beautiful.”

Related Articles and Resources

Chris Rock On The Billion Dollar Black ‘Good Hair’ Industry

Rock learned that women do their hair for one another. ‘They say it’s for the men, but it’s really for the women. Because guys don’t care,’ he says. ‘There’s no point in the history of the world where men were not sleeping with the women in front of them. We take what we can get.’”

Read more in this CNN article, taken from an Oprah Winfrey show in 2009.

Chris Rock and Nia Long Discuss ‘Good Hair’

“I think we also have a lack of presence in terms of celebrating our beauty that looks more Afrocentric,” says Nia Long. “You start slowly to believe that the less Afrocentric you are, the more beautiful you are.”

Read the Washington Post interview.

The Hair Trade’s Dirty Secret

Religious devotees in India travel to temples hundreds of miles away to pray, and when their prayers are answered they offer up their hair. The hair is then sold to western countries for high profits. Many Indian girls have had their hair cut and stolen while they were sleeping or in movie theatres.

The Guardian reveals more about the hair trading industry that has spread globally, particularly in poverty-stricken villages, but even in the UK.

In Praise Of Celebrities With Natural Hair

Extensions and weaves may be all the rage in Hollywood, but these stars are proof that natural hair is just as beautiful. Check it out on the Huffington Post.


Listen to our playlist with music from the film on Spotify.

Interview With Chris Rock

Chris Rock discusses the motivating factors behind the changing styles.

Read it on A.V. Club.

Why Black Women’s Hair Is Seen With Skepticism and a Need To Discipline

“But when I reflect on new U.S. Army regulations that ban women from wearing a range of natural styles – large cornrows, twists, and dreadlocks – I remember that the long-held skepticism in black communities over natural styles has its roots in the structural and systemic regulation of black women’s bodies.”

Read the full article in Salon.

The Politics of Black Hair

Mainstream conversations about feminism usually proceed from the standpoint of middle-class white women – but they need to know their experiences aren’t universal, including when it comes to hair.

New Statesman has the full

Natural Or Relaxed, For Black Women, Hair Is Not A Settled Matter

“There are plenty of signs that natural hair has yet to become completely socially acceptable. Each year, a number of workplace discrimination suits are filed related to African Americans wearing their hair in its natural state, dreads or braids.”

Read more on the Huffington Post.

White Women, Black Hairstyles

Slate published a photo series by Endia Beal titled, “Can I Touch It?” in which white women were given black hairstyles then photographed in the style of typical corporate portraits.

“Beal is an artist looking to open a dialogue among people of different gender, race, and generations about the ways in which we express ourselves, specifically in a corporate environment.”

Good ‘Hair?’ Hardly. How Chris Rock gets it wrong

According to this Entertainment Weekly review, the film misses the point.

HAIR: Black Women’s Right to Remain Relaxed

Does healthy hair always mean natural hair?

“Too often—especially within the Black community—acceptance of one thing typically means absolute rejection of another.”

Visit Ebony to find out why the war on straight hair must end.

Army’s Ban on Popular Hairstyles Raises Ire of Black Female Soldiers

“In reaction to a new Army regulation banning numerous hairstyles — twists, dreadlocks and large cornrows — popular with black women, the 16 women of the Congressional Black Caucus have asked Mr. Hagel to overturn the regulation on behalf of the 26,700 African-American women on active duty in the Army.”

Read more on the New York Times.


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