hair, hair politics

Good hair? Chris Rock on Oprah

chris-oprahI just finished watching Chris Rock talk hair with Oprah and I’m certainly more impressed than I was with Tyra’s hair show.

I was trying to listen intently to the show between my sister calling to comment and the Hubby cackling and hollering about Chris’ comments, I managed to jot down some thoughts. Let’s talk.

At first, I thought that this was going to be Black Hair 101 — explaining to white people the intricacies of relaxers (government name: sodium chloride, LOL!) and weaves, but I was pleasantly surprised — it was entertaining, somewhat informative and it definitely will spur conversation.

So, Chris said ‘Black men don’t like hair — they like booty!’ Chris, I’m giving you the side-eye (and so is my sister). I’ve heard many Black men say they wanted women with hair like Tatyana Ali or Beyonce (yes, I’ve also heard them say they wanted a woman with Serena Williams’ backside). I would hope at 30-something years of age, that wouldn’t be a deciding factor in choosing someone to date, but I know some people are just ignorant. I do know that there are a number of men who are attracted to women based on their hair length and texture — the illusion of some types of Black hair, because we all know that Beyonce/Ciara/Janet/Nia/Gabrielle/et al’s hair is not their hair.

Now, the Hubby said that it has more to do with who the hot girl du jour is. I agree with that to some extent. Everyone wanted: Janet Jackson’s box braids from Poetic Justice, Lauryn Hill’s Afrocentric look, Aaliyah’s super straight jet black hair and now Beyonce’s long, wavy, blond locks.

That’s true — what’s in the media plays a huge role on what we do to our hair. For example, why are so many white women bleaching their hair blond? As Marilyn Monroe said, blonds have more fun.

While I would love hair to be just hair, Black hair is so much more for many of us.

The politics of hair is history-laden and controversial. There is a reason why the Black hair industry is a $9 billion industry (can you believe that?) in the U.S. I wonder how much it’s worth in Canada, ’cause we all know, Canadian sisters can spend some money on weaves and relaxer. Some women can’t afford to pay their phone bill, but will beg, borrow or steal for a trip to the beauty salon. Ridiculous, but I’ve seen it and I’ve heard about it.

The part I thought was extremely interesting was Solange Knowles’ segment. I have more respect for Solange after she cut her hair — not because she cut her hair, but because of how she responded to people who were dissing her. She said that it’s every woman’s choice to change it up and I wholeheartedly agree. What caught my attention, besides how pretty she looked, was when she said that her mother didn’t allow the term ‘good hair’ in their home. Good hair is healthy hair. Amen! I get with that, but it’s highly ironic that her sister rocks a BLOND weave/wig down to her waist. Isn’t their mother Beyonce’s image consultant?

If so and the term ‘good hair’ wasn’t allowed in the Knowles’ home, why have Bey wear a weave that is so dissimilar to real Black hair and so close to what many Black people consider ‘good hair’? I could accept a black waist-length weave (I’d still look side-eye at the Indian remi – crazy segment – or the Yaki, but I could more understand), but a blond weave is saying something disturbing to young women. The Hubby also mentioned that the more popular Beyonce became, the lighter her hair got.

The best comment of the show, I think, is when Chris Rock said: take the kiddie perm off the shelves. Putting chemicals in a child’s hair is not cool. Hi-five, brother!

What did you think, lurkers? Leave a comment!

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2 thoughts on “Good hair? Chris Rock on Oprah”

  1. Re: Beyonce’s blond and blonder locks – You notice that trend with all the popular [white] female celebrities – they all go or get blonder at some point, like when Kelly Clarkson hit it big – and 2nd album in, she’s blond – regardless of whether the colour actually suits them or not. You wonder whether it’s their choice or it’s ‘suggested’ to them.

    1. And they get skinnier and skinnier to the point it’s ridiculous. I was watching The View last week when I was home sick and they were talking about infertility issues. Bill and Giuliana Rancic were on (he was the first Apprentice and she’s on an entertainment show). Their doctor told Giuliana that she had to gain five pounds in order to get pregnant. You know the woman didn’t want to? I scratch my head at celebrities (and the people who follow their movements like gospel).

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