“A sista ain’t happy…
When her hair is nappy.”
Alrighty then. That’s the ridiculous line that fell out of actress Niecy Nash’s mouth in a movie I watched today with my mom called “Code Name: The Cleaner.” It was an OK action/adventure/comedy/drama staring Cedric “The Entertainer.” Although released this year according to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB), I’d never heard of it. My mom was watching it today so I decided to sit a spell and enjoy it too since it looked like a fairly interesting plot was evolving.
Basically, Cedric’s character is a janitor named Jake “The Cleaner” Rogers, who is helping expose his company’s role in selling secrets to the enemy by altering codes in video games. He’s supposed to meet some men in a hotel to turn over a video chip when all hell breaks loose. In the malay that ensues, an FBI agent gets killed while Jake gets hit on the head and knocked unconscious. Well when he comes to, he’s laying on the bed next to the dead agent, and as the plot would have it, he has short term memory loss and has no clue who he is nor does he know why he’s at the hotel to begin with.
Suffice it to say, the movie takes you through a variety of twists and turns…most of which are predictable. Others are simply absurd and in a few instances there are a couple of genuinely funny situations. But you better believe that with Cedric in a movie, there’s bound to be some stereotypical ethnic humor involved, which I find in most instances just plain not funny. For instance, why must black women always be portrayed as loud talking, head wagging, ghetto sounding, wig-wearing divas that won’t take nothin’ off nobody. Well guess what? That’s exactly the role Miss Nash, aka Jaccuzi in this movie, had the pleasure of playing. For some reason, (I’d stepped out of the room for a moment so I don’t really know why) Jake and his “boo” Gina, an undercover FBI agent played by Lucy Liu, need to kidnap Jaccuzi. From there, they go about their business exposing the bad guys and saving the day while apparently forgetting about Jaccuzi, who was left locked up in the trunk of a car for about eight hours. The next time Jake sees Jaccuzi, who has the hots for him, she tells Jake in no uncertain terms she didn’t appreciate being locked up in the trunk as it’s hell on a girl’s hair. He owes her, she declares loudly, a trip to her favorite salon to get her hair back right cause “A sista ain’t happy when her hair is nappy!”
Now I know this was supposed to be funny, but that line fell oh so flat with me. It was utterly absurd considering the fact that she was wearing a wig/weave that rivaled Rapunzel’s tresses minus the honey blond color. It was black as an oil slick and had enough shine to blind you. Really. I don’t think I’ve evah seen hair on anyone’s head that shiny before. How totally ridiculous that Hollywood tries to pass this crap off as black women’s natural hair and then in this particular instance drops snide remarks about nappy hair.
It’s all an interesting dichotomy, however. On the one hand you have marketers and advertisers who are consciously pushing the natural look, which is now very prevalent in TV commercials, displays in stores (Go to Target and you’ll get a nappy eyefull) and in hard copy media such as magazines, store circulars and mailers. Then you have Hollywood, who damn near refuses to have black women wear their hair any other way except undercover and topped off by long flowing lace-front wigs and weaves.
Several very recent high-grossing, high-profile movies bear witness to this (as most do) including “Why Did I get Married?” and “This Christmas.” For once, it was quite refreshing to see Janet Jackson’s real hair in “Married?” I don’t think we’ve seen it since “Good Times.” But she was the ONLY sista sporting her own in that movie, and it looks to have thinned out considerably over the years, no doubt due to all the chemicals and weaves she’s worn during her career. That’s a long time to torture your hair, and she’s probably lucky to have any at all. And there was soo much weave flowing in “This Christmas” I’m surprised someone didn’t literally trip and fall over some fake hair.
Anyhoo, it’s clear that Hollywood and the marketing/advertising worlds are not in sync with one another. But as great as it is to see all the nappy heads in advertisments these days, I often wonder if the women are really natural, or if they are just wearing natural-looking wigs or weaves. If the latter is true, that doesn’t rankle my last nerve nearly as much as seeing black women who sport all this long, blowing-in-the-wind hair as if that’s the way it really grows from their heads. And is it just me? I swear it seems since lace fronts hit the scene, all this fake hair is getting longer and more outrageous. Just think Beyonce as you visualize for a moment. See what I mean?
I guess in the end Hollywood will continue to use the images they THINK sell. But if advertisers have finally seen the light, when is Hollywood going to open its eyes and figure out that nappy hair is beautiful enough to be on the big screen too. They just need to let us represent and do their part in dispelling the myth that black women can’t be desireable wearing their own hair or a reasonable likeness thereof. Plus, it’s just bogus to portray us as NEVER having nappy hair. We do, and it’s time that we are given the chance to represent. And contrary to their behind-the-times notions that everyone shuns nappy hair, us nappy-headed sistas know better and have something to say loud and clear: We are quite happy being nappy and ain’t nothing wrong with that!
Come on Hollywood get with the program and stop being so fake. Hmmm… Hollywood, NOT fake. That would be an oxymoron…never mind.