Have you heard about Chris Rock
's new movie, the documentary on African-American coiffure titled Good Hair
Rock got the idea for the film a few years back when his daughter complained to him about her kinky hair. The comedian was so baffled by his daughter's complaint that he set out to examine the money and politics behind the African-American beauty industry, which is said to take in a whopping $9 billion a year
Along the way, Rock (who admits wearing a Jheri curl
while in his teens) talked to folks like the Rev. Al Sharpton
and poet Maya Angelou
about their hairdos.
I'm mentioning all this because I'm curious if Rock's research took him to St. Louis, home to haircare pioneer Annie Malone
In the early 1900s Malone patented the first "hot comb" at a time when many black women were using damaging goose fat and heavy oils to straighten their curls. Malone ended up making a mint peddling her haircare products and in 1917 founded Poro College
in St. Louis, the nation's first educational institution dedicated to the study and teaching of black cosmetology.