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Q&A: Chris Rock

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What do you do when your 5-year-old daughter tells you she has ”bad hair”? If you’re Chris Rock, you make Good Hair, a doc about the complex issue of perms, weaves, and relaxers in the African-American community. (Rock had no comment on the lawsuit Regina Kimbell filed against him Oct. 5 alleging that he stole the idea from her doc My Nappy Roots.) The comic discusses his film.

The Bronner Bros. Hair Show in Atlanta attracts 100,000 people every year. Was that your starting point?
Yeah. I went there in 1992; I always thought it was a good topic because that convention is huge! But I wasn’t famous enough to get that movie made then. Cut to years later and my daughter’s talking about her hair. It triggered something in me, like, ”Hey, let me dust off that idea.”

What’s the most surprising reaction so far?
People want to focus on what’s not in the movie — they want the whole history. Let [CNN anchor] Soledad O’Brien do that. I’m here to make people laugh. Like Joe Pesci in GoodFellas: ”Am I here to amuse you?” Yes, I am!

Do your daughters (who are 7 and 5) have perms? No. Those chemicals are way too strong for kids. But it’s gonna happen. When they’re teenagers, they’re gonna do whatever I don’t want them to do.

Have you had your own share of bad hair days?
Oh yeah, I had a Jheri curl, S-Curls. I had all sorts of chemicals in my hair in New Jack City. Just imagine if I peeled off my skin and then poured alcohol on my scalp — that’s what it feels like. It burns that much. I don’t miss it!

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