Good Hair

Synopsis: Chris Rock, a man with two daughters, asks about good hair, as defined by Black Americans, mostly Black women. He visits Bronner Brothers' annual hair convention in Atlanta. He tells us about sodium hydroxide, a toxin used to relax hair. He looks at weaves, and he travels to India where tonsure ceremonies produce much of the hair sold in America. A weave is expensive: he asks who makes the money. We visit salons and barbershops, central to the Black community. Rock asks men if they can touch their mates' hair - no, it's decoration. Various talking heads (many of them women with good hair) comment. It's about self image. Maya Angelou and Tracie Thoms provide perspective.
Director(s): Jeff Stilson
Production: Roadside Attractions
  5 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
96 min

Those are my daughters,

Lola and Zahra,

the most beautiful girls

in the world.

And even though I tell them

that they're beautiful every single day,


it's just not good enough.

Just yesterday,

Lola came into the house crying

and said, ''Daddy, how come

I don't have good hair?''

I wonder

how she came up with that idea?

Well, there's always this sort of pressure

within the black community,

like, ''Oh, if you have good hair,

''you're prettier or better

than the brown-skinned girl

''that wears the Afro or the dreads

or the natural hairstyle.''

I mean,

have I gone around thinking it,

and have I said it to myself,

''l got good hair''?

Do I say it to my daughter,

like, and not even

thinking what I'm saying?

I'm like,

''Honey, you have such good hair.

''You have such beautiful hair.''

Growing up, I considered

anybody's hair but mine good hair.

Like, my mom is white.

I'm half Russian and Norwegian

on my mother's side,

so my mom's hair is silky and blonde,

and I was like, ''Why?

''Just why didn't I get your genetics?''

That was what I looked at as,

you know,

good hair was white hair.

The lighter, the brighter,

the better.

And that's a thing

that causes great dissension

within the black community

and with black women.

You know,

I look in the black hair books,

and it's like all the hair

is straight.

It was a hard,

like, decision in the beginning.

I said, ''No, I'm going to be strong

against all the forces

''that are going to try to get me

to straighten my hair.''

You know,

you look at the magazines

and you want to be that girl,

you know.

You want to be that girl,

and you have this fantasy

where you think,

''If they straighten it out,

''then all of a sudden

it's going to grow

''and it's going to really move

and it's going to really flow

''and I'm going to have this hair.''

Well, you never had the hair

to begin with,

but you don't know that,

you know.

When you look at a woman's hair,

it's a fantasy come true

if they can really pull that off.

So, for me,

yeah, hair's real important.

Well, I would say

that hair is a woman's glory,

and that you share

that glory with your family.

And they get to see you braiding it,

and they get to see you washing it,

and they get to--It's a glory.

But it is not a bad thing

or a good thing. It's hair.

If you have it on your head,

it's good.

If you have it growing

between your toes,

it probably isn't so good.

So what feeds

this hair machine?

How do we decide

what good hair is?

Well, at least for some people,

that decision is made

where all major

black decisions are made...

in Atlanta

at the Bronner Brothers Hair Show.

That's right,

the Bronner Brothers Hair Show.

Twice a year,

for over sixty years,

the Bronner Brothers

have hosted this massive hair show

with over 120,000 hair professionals

in attendance,

over twenty-eight major hotels

booked exclusively,

and over $60 million pumped

into the Atlanta economy.

Good hair is good business.

My father started it

sixty years ago,

and the show was

actually a seminar

to teach the people

buying the products

how to use the products.

And sixty years later,

the number-one purpose

of the hair show,

to come learn

how to use new products.

Certain products, we index triple

what the white market does.

We're at 12/ of the population,

but we buy 80/ of the hair.


I got in the wrong business.

All I know is, we spend

a ton of money on our hair.

No matter what,

we going to look good.

We going to look good.

You know,

that's the bottom line.

We're going

to look good regardless.

While the main purpose

of the show

is to promote products

and make tons of money,

the three-day event

culminates in a hair contest

where stylists

from around the world

come to compete

and show off their skills

in front of an arena

of cheering hair fans.

The winner

not only takes home $20,000,

but also receives

lucrative endorsement deals

and establishes themselves

as the leading voice in black hair.

Now, can you tell me,

how are the hairstylists chosen

to compete in this competition?

We try and select

the best of the best.

If we see someone

that's exciting on stages,

we invite them in

to do our Battle.

Tanya, I really

can't say her strength,

'cause this is

her first time doing the Battle.

Her weakness

is that she's sort of new.

Well, I'm happy to be nappy.

How about that?

Oh, Lord.

See, Tanya, don't take it there.

She don't want to be nappy.

No, I'm not saying--

I know my hair

can get very coarse, but...

Ooh, and then they try

to find a better word for it.


Dress it up, baby. It's okay.

That's a stigma.

Chris, are you listening?

It's not called bad.

Nappy's not bad.

Well, actually--

It can still be good.

It's just nappy.

I changed it around.

'Cause people

with that soft, natural, curly hair,

I call that bad hair now.

Okay, 'cause it's hard to curl?

'Cause nappy hair holds curls.

Tanya's new to this,

but she's also business partners

with former Bronner Brothers

champion Kevin Kirk.

Kevin won twenty grand

back in 2005,

when twenty grand

really meant something.

If that belt could talk,

what do you think it would say?

It'd say, ''Bring home

my brother August 18th.''

So the brother's held captive?

It's held captive.

Bronner Brothers

got it on lock right now.

I picture myself being David

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Lance Crouther

Lance Crouther is an American television producer, television writer and actor. He was the head writer of the TBS late night show Lopez Tonight until 2010, and was a writer for Down to Earth, Wanda at Large, and Good Hair, among others. As an actor, he was the star of the feature film Pootie Tang. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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