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Film review: ‘Brazilian Wavy’ explores Korean domination of black hair care industry

Kam Williams | 6/23/2017, 6 a.m.
The wacky comedy manages to entertain while sending you away with a worthwhile message to ponder.
The poster for the film "Brazilian Wavy." Courtesy Maroon Work

In recent years, a couple of groundbreaking documentaries have addressed some serious issues pertaining to African American hair. The first, Aron Ranen’s “Black Hair,” chronicled the Korean takeover of the black hair care industry. The second, Chris Rock’s “Good Hair,” was an eye-opening exposé of the dangers and costs associated with the efforts of sisters to straighten hair and purchase wigs in capitulation to a European definition of beauty.

At a glance

“BRAZILIAN WAVY”

The verdict: Very Good (3 stars)

Rating: Unrated

Running time: 21 minutes

Studio: Maroon Work

On the Web

To see a trailer for “Brazilian Wavy,” visit: https://vimeo.com...

Now we have “Brazilian Wavy,” a wacky comedy that takes a lighter look at the same two themes. Directed by Kirk Henriquest, the thought-provoking film packs a wealth of information before delivering its emotional punch, despite its runtime of 21 minutes. Much like your typical TV sitcom, the film manages to entertain while sending you away with a worthwhile message to ponder.

The picture’s plot is straightforward enough. First, we meet Remy (Barry Floyd), a nerdy brother who just had his heart broken by his two-timing girlfriend, Jin (Celeste Seda). To add insult to injury, word gets around that she left him for an undocumented midget driving a garish, pumpkin-looking jalopy.

More importantly, she’s also Korean and the daughter of the owner of the only beauty supply store in this neck of the ’hood. That conveniently dovetails with the fact that Remy’s something of a scientist and has just invented a new styling gel called Brazilian Wavy, which he’d like her father to carry.

But after being turned down, he hatches an elaborate plan to burglarize the store in the middle of the night, with the help of his brother Mavo (Lamont King) and roommate Zakia (Jasmine Burke). Of course, things don’t go as planned, and the ensuing developments are best left unspoiled.

Suffice to say that “Brazilian Wavy” is a fun way to learn that the chemicals black folks use in their hair can cause serious harm, like baldness and blindness. Nevertheless, many are willing to assume the risk and “Live by the perm, die by the perm, and go out in style.”