10 Mar

Via I would get my hair washed as a little girl, I would wrap the towel around my head pretending it was my hair. The towel was no longer a large white cloth, it was my new and improved blond hair–yes blond and beautiful. My hair was long and flowed all the way down to the middle of my back. I would run my fingers through it, and like Willow Smith I would “whip my hair back and forth“. I would say to myself “my hair is lovely and I am beautiful!”.  I would stare in the mirror and pretend for the moment that I had “good hair”. Sometimes my hair could be blond and straight, and other times it was brown and curly; it could be shiny black and wavy as well. My “good hair” was NOT KINKY. Well, I couldn’t pretend all day and  my real hair needed to be  blow dried and straighten.


When Chris Rock produced the  documentary Good Hair, I was really excited because I thought  he would expose the negativity associated with the definition of “good hair” in African American culture. Talk about stereo-types, I assumed that because he is black that he was going to explore why African-Americans consider their hair “bad” and that he was going to negate that mindset.  I expected some type of conclusion like all hair is good hair.  Instead I was exposed to how black women put so much worked and money into getting “good hair”. He does a good job in revealing the supply and demand of black hair and black hair care products. The documentary was not what I expected, but it did show that African-American woman value “presentable” hair. There is a history behind this (post-slavery), which I will discuss in detail in a later post. Regardless, I have a problem with the term  “good hair”.

No one has ever told me “Jahmella, you have bad hair! UGH!”, but I never had anyone tell me “Jahmella, your hair is beautiful! Yeah!” either. Instead  my hair was complained about, like I would hear a family member say “your hair is sooooooooooo nappy!” or “what are we going to do with this hair!”.  My hair was a struggle, so from that I came to the conclusion that I had “bad hair”. This is the problem I have with the term. “Good hair” was well-defined because when the same family member who spoke so fondly of my hair would see a little girl with curly hair they would say “awwww, she has some good hair!”. “Good hair” was anything that wasn’t kinky. (Don’t you see all the passion that is put into talking about hair). So that left us with the kinky hair in the category of “bad hair”.

Since I didn’t get what I wanted out of the documentary “Good Hair”, I will redefine it for myself. Here is my definition plain and simple: good hair is all hair! I don’t care what you say Chris Rock, I don’t care what you say family member that use to talk about me and I don’t care about you little girl who likes to pretend her hair is anything but her own. My hair is good hair. Your hair is good hair. Everyone has good hair.

Disclaimer: Everyone has good hair, but not everyone has well-groomed hair. There is a difference.


2 Responses to “GOOD HAIR!”

  1. Samara Pearlstein April 4, 2011 at 11:21 PM #

    First of all, I absolutely love your disclaimer. I literally LOLed. Second of all, Willow Smith can sure whip her hair back and forth and if you’ve ever tried your self, it isn’t that easy! That girls got some hair whipping skills. Love the link!

    • Afro April 5, 2011 at 12:38 PM #

      Well thanks, I’m glad you thought that was funny. And yes Willow sure can whip her hair!

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