GOOD HAIR – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

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Filmmaker Justin Simien’s Bad Hair is weaving its way into current movie buzz with its premier at Sundance Film Festival 2019, so this is a good time to take another look at the roots of coiffeur-themed horror comedy genre: Chris Rock’s Good Hair, released in 2009.

good-hair-posterComedian activist Rock was genuinely alarmed when he found his adorable six year old daughter, Lola, crying because she didn’t have ‘good hair.’ Concerned about his child’s happiness and self esteem, Rock investigated American’s — and, in particular, African-American women’s — attitudes towards their hair.

Basically, common cultural precepts define ‘good hair’ as straight, and that concept comes with tremendous social, political and economic impact. It not only sets standards for self-esteem, it also fuels a billion dollar multinational industry.

This documentary is Chris Rock’s good hair day, a celebration of women’s rights to feel beautiful in their own skin with their own hair. Good Hair, now available on DVD, is still very relevant. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).