“Good Hair” Movie Producer Chris Rock Sued by “My Nappy Roots’”

A host of celebs turned out on Monday night and walked the red carpet (close to gawking passers by) for the Manhatton screening of Chris Rock’s documentary film, “Good Hair” hosted by the Cinema Society.

You would never have known that Chris Rock had just minutes before been hit with a $5 million lawsuit by Regina Kimbell for allegedly ripping off her 2005 documentary, ” My Nappy Roots”.

 The idea behind both films seem similar. The synopsis for Kimbell’s film on mynappyrootsthemovement.com says the film “takes an unparalleled look at how black hair is used as a prism through which to look at cultural, societal and political issues in the African-American community over time.”

“Good Hair,” part humor and part investigative journalism, explores the topic of black women’s hair, in an attempt to answer the question posed by Rock’s daughter, Lola, who came up to him crying and asked, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” In the film, celebrities Kerry Washington, Ice-T, Maya Angelous, and the Rev. Al Sharpton all offer their stories and observations to Rock while he struggles with the task of figuring out how to respond to his daughter’s question. What he discovers is that black hair is a big business that doesn’t always benefit the black community and little Lola’s question might well be bigger than his ability to convince her that the stuff on top of her head is nowhere near as important as what is inside. Rock said the idea had been brewing for years and he credits director Michael Moore for pioneering a style of filmmaking he calls “funny and smart.”

Kimbell claims that several elements of her film were copied by Rock after she showed him ”My Nappy Roots” – which won the Pan African Film Festival’s best documentary award in 2007  and which has otherwise only been shown at colleges and film festivals since its completion in 2006- to Rock on the set of his TV series “Everyone Hates Chris”. 

It will be interesting, the outcome, since the claim for copyright infringement, in my opinion, is grossly misunderstood by most, including lawyers, and is quite difficult to prove.

 “Good Hair”, which first premiered at Sundance and then recent Toronto International Film Festival, will be released in certain cities on Friday and nationwide on Oct. 23.

Sources: NYdailynews.com, indiewire.com, Associated Press

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