[movieperson id="53724"]Chris Rock[/movieperson] is never one to shy away from pushing the boundaries of racial discussion in America. His HBO stand-up specials "Bring the Pain" and "Bigger and Blacker" are a testament to that. In his new documentary, "Good Hair," Rock continues to do so, all the while trying to answer his daughter's question: "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?"
"One day, I was in the car with my daughter and her little girlfriend, who happened to be white, and she was raving about her girlfriend's hair, and she used the words 'good hair' to describe it, and it kind of made me jump a little bit," Rock said.
The film deals with African-American women's obsession with their hair, which ultimately sheds a light on their own images of beauty.
"I started thinking about my daughter, and I started thinking about the Bronner Bros. Hair Show ... and here we are with 'Good Hair.' "
The Bronner Bros. Hair Show has been held annually in Atlanta dating back to the 1950s. Rock used the gathering of barbers, hair-care-product salespeople and an over-the-top hairstyling competition as one of the film's backdrops. He compared the event to the World Cup or Super Bowl of hair.
"It's not just the competition of the hairstylists, but also people," Rock explained. " 'Here's the new relaxer! Here's the new clippers! Here's the new weave!' "
Throughout the movie, Rock -- who serves as a writer and producer on the film -- interviews various black actors/actresses, musicians, models and doctors, including Meagan Good, Raven-Symoné, T-Pain and Dr. Maya Angelou. But Rock said there was one actress he had to have for his film to succeed.
"What black things that work on the screen happen without Nia Long? Not a lot. I looked over the things that have worked, and what is the variable here: Nia Long," Rock said.
Long recalled laughing out loud when she got the call but thinking it was a great idea. "I remember going, 'He's crazy!' I thought, 'This is such a good title and a good topic of discussion,' and something that I think is long overdue."
She said she wasn't uncomfortable talking about her hair. "I think if you're going to work on a project like this, if you're not willing to be totally open and vulnerable, it really doesn't work," Long said. "You want the audience to be like, 'Oh, my God, she finally said it.' "
Rock's film takes him on a journey to the Dudley's Hair Care & Cosmetics plant in Greensboro, North Carolina; the streets of Los Angeles to sell hair; and even India to discover where the hair for weaves comes from.
"I was in India; I flew 20 hours to get this," Rock said. "It was kind of fly. It was like, 'Wow, this is a long way from Brooklyn.' "
Check out everything we've got on "Good Hair."
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