All Articles Tagged "dreadlocks"
Earlier this week this woman at Noodles and Company, (if you’ve never tried it, you better ask somebody!) complemented my locs. Before I could even say thank you she went into her story, telling me how she too had tried the lock thing but couldn’t make it past the rough patch. I nodded my head in solemnity and agreement. *Moment of silence for the rough period* It was a lot. And I can’t say I was exactly prepared for it. With that in mind, I thought about all of the things I wish (Cedric the Entertainer voice) somebody would have told me about the lock journey. So in an attempt to help another sistah, who’s considering taking this step, here the things you need to know before you lock it down.
Just a week ago, folks were talking about the locs Rihanna wore for her performance on “American Idol.” Always one to change up her style, no one was shocked by the transformation, but it was definitely an interesting look, even for her. But Rihanna made it known that she’s not jumping on a bandwagon. In fact, she said that she’s wanted locs since she was a wee gyal:
“Their HOT! [I wanted them] since I was 14, but mama Fent’z wasn’t havin it!”
And while most people thought she looked great with them (aside from the awkward straight bang), I couldn’t help but notice that a few people weren’t feeling the look. Not because she looked a mess of some sorts in their opinion, but because they felt that rocking fake locs was an attempt to make a fad out of dreadlocks. And they weren’t having that.
“Not to[sic] fond of it. As a person who wears locs, I don’t consider it a style but a natural way to treat hair. When we wear it for “show” it makes it a fad. My locs are not a fad.”
I knew at least one person was going to have something to say against the look on her, but this individual’s comment struck me because I could see where she was coming from, but also could see how harmless wearing fake locs could be as well. You could say that I’ve been on both sides of the fence.
I remember when I posted a picture of myself with locs last summer on Facebook. People loved them! People were giving them all kinds of nice compliments, but boy oh boy were they shocked when I revealed that they were fake. Folks who had rocked dreadlocks for years thought they were real until I told them to touch ‘em (most were men with short attention spans of course). People would tell me they loved my hair until I quickly let them know that they weren’t real. Even though I wasn’t REALLY trying to fool anybody since that wasn’t my reason for getting them, I was fooling a few folks indeed.
The deal was, I had just recently gone natural a few months before, and as part of an old summer ritual, I was looking to protect my hair, and of course, looking for a break from doing it. After doing some research into different options, I ran across silky dreads and thought they looked amazing. I had always wondered what I would look like if and when I decided to lock my real hair, so spending $300+ on this temporary option sounded like an expensive option, but one I definitely wanted to try. When I did, though I got off to a rough start, I was able to style them in funky ways, able to guard and protect my hair, and when I took them out three months later to prepare for a wedding (though they could have stayed for 6 months or been worn until I grew my own locs to a good length), my hair had grown immensely. The greatest thing about them was that they pushed me to quit faking it and start making it by transitioning to real locs.
Oh locs, how I love thee. And while we spend a lot of time checking out slideshows of women with long ombre hair, half-shaven hair and bobs, why not check out the many women in Hollywood who’ve been bold enough to rock locs in an industry that is more of a fan of long, straight hair? Check out this gallery of some of our favorites and you can tell us who you felt rocked them best! And feel free to include people who were not included in your comments (but be nice of course).
Around the time Erykah Badu came out, I was pretty young, so for a long while I had no idea what was holding that tall head wrap up everywhere she went. But after the “Otherside of the Game” video came out and she pulled her wrap off to show a head full of dreads, I clearly figured it out. Over the years, Badu has worn a wealth of different hairstyles, fake and real, and in later years, she’s even rocked loc extensions. Either way though, the look has been a gorgeous one on her. Don’t you agree?
So I caught the latest addition to the Isht that So & So Says meme called Isht that Natural Hair Girls Says and I got a good chuckle out of it because it just reminded me of how sometimes the whole fascination over natural hair gets to be ridiculous.
It reminded me of the time a couple of years back when I was at this conference, waiting for elevator with a bunch of other Black women. Anyway, as I was standing there, leaning against the wall wishing for this slow-behind elevator to hurry up, one of the women, a lady with a TWA (Teeny Weenie Afro for those not familiar with the hair lingo) decided to strike up this conversation about my hair. She asked the customary questions that I usually get from curious gawkers: how long had I’d been growing my dreadlocks, do I do them myself, what kind of products do I use, you know the normal stuff. I don’t have a problem with folks asking me questions; in fact I am flattered by the attention.
However the conversation took a drastic change from pleasantries to outright offensiveness when she started talking about her own recent “big chop.” In between gushing over how wonderful she feels to be free of chemicals and how long she agonized over the decisions, she started doing what a lot of newly converted natural divas do: defame and attack women, who choose not to wear their own hair. She actually felt like she was sharing some sort of camaraderie with a fellow natural sister-in-arms; however, what she was actually doing was drawing the unnecessary scrutiny and alienation from the other Black women, who stood around us in annoyance at her hair prophesying. And you know what? I was annoyed too.
Like most ladies, I love my hair. However unlike most natural converts, I am not, nor have I ever been, sentimental with my hairstyle choice. I don’t know its birth date, I didn’t document the stages of hair “growth” and I never thought my transition was a “journey.” In fact, the only thing I remember about my hair “journey” was getting on the subway’s Broad Street line and making my way down to South Street to get my hair done. Hell, if I am really going to be honest, I don’t even twist my own hair. I pay someone else to do it because I do not have the time or the patience (also known as lazy) to diddle around with my hair.
And yes, I love my dreadlocks. But mainly because it’s versatile enough that I can dress it up, dress it down and never had to worry about rain or humidity. However natural hair isn’t more or less maintenance than any other hairstyle I had. I still have to get it done, when I wash my hair at home, it takes forever to dry and I still have to find ways to style it, just like I would with any other hairstyle. And while I have grown to appreciate my hair in its natural state, I can’t quite say that I have reached some heighten sense of hair consciousness to feel that I am somehow superior to all of those “other girls” who still relaxed their hair.
There is nothing wrong with celebrating or basking in your newly defined and accepted natural beauty. However, some women, not all but some, treat natural hair like it’s some sort of secret society sorority club where membership is exclusive and password protected. In fact, they are on the same scale as the Born-again Christians, who post uninvited Bible scriptures on your Facebook wall and recently converted Vegetarians/Vegans, who go on and on during your lunch break about how much energy they have and healthier they feel now that they stopped eating hamburgers and pork chops two days ago.
In some of these natural hair circles, some women do more than just trade hair care tips. They actually use these grounds as some sort of nappy-jihadist recruitment/training camp, where they attempt to enlist a legion of hair cops to hand out tickets to those women, who defy the virtues of the Afro-Gospel. I see these women on various blogs, Twitter accounts, among friends, family and as strangers in supermarkets, lay down their vicious authority on women, who do straighten or weave their hair. Oh and don’t think that just because you are natural you are excluded from the inquisition. Just ask any woman, who was “caught” using the wrong product, wearing a wig while in “transition” or not having the right grade of naps to be considered a true natural.
We can thank Nobanda Nolubabalo for officially giving the TSA a legitimate reason to search natural hair from here on out.
The 23-year-old South African woman was caught attempting to smuggle 1.5 kilograms of cocaine in her dreadlocks on a flight to Bangkok. Authorities arrested her and held her in the capital yesterday after customs officers noticed a suspicious white substance in her hair, according to the Daily Mail. After a search, it was discovered that she matted the drug into her dreads before boarding a flight from Brazil.
The amount of cocaine was worth roughly $144,000. Nolubabalo claimed she was hired by a Thailand-based businessman to smuggle the drugs for about $1,800. The amount is far less than the price the woman may have to pay for the failed smuggling attempt, including the possibility of the death penalty. Thailand has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world, and just this week another South African was executed for drug smuggling in China after an unsuccessful attempt by South Africa’s president to convert the sentence.
You can view a video of the search here. How do you think this woman’s actions will affect hair searches in the U.S. going forward?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Oh locks! I love them dearly and I don’t even have them! (I’ve even worn fake dreads before because I admire them so much) While I do plan to turn this big, fluffy ‘fro of mine into a locked masterpiece in due time, I click through many galleries and pics of locks and the unique styles they can come to form for inspiration. From the short ones, to the long ones, to the ones that come in a vast array of colors and coils, locks are a great hair choice. I’ve noticed we don’t offer as much love to them as we do all kinds of other forms of hair here on the site, so check out this gallery of fanciful and fly lock styles that I’m sure will get your creative juices flowing when it comes to your own hair.
If there’s one thing I’m not looking forward to when I have kids (which I’m hoping I’ll be blessed to do), it’s putting a comb through my child’s hair. I’m of Nigerian background, and my Texas-born mother has a pretty thick head of hair, herself. So my hair, along with my sister’s mane, has always been big, full and hard to handle. I’m assuming whatever my child’s gender would be, their hair would be somewhat similar. And while I would hope to go the whole twist, braids and beads route for my child, I’ve noticed a number of parents out there who are putting dreadlocks in their little one’s hair. Since moving to New York, it seems to be very normal.
I love dreadlocks on people, especially black folks. And while it is indeed cute on most kids, I often wonder if doing something like that is a bit too…permanent for a little one. Having and growing dreads seems to be a huge commitment, what with the hours of sitting in a chair getting strands re-twisted and what not. And a lot of people don’t like to feel stuck with one style (a la, creatures of change). Kids might adore dreads during their pre-teen-meets-middle school years, but what if by their teenage years they’re hoping to experiment with their hair? Will their only option be to go through the tedious process of having them opened, or will they have to cut their locks off and start anew? I’m sure being a teenage girl with little to no hair because of a big chop is a lot to deal with or take on during high school, your most emotional and teen angst-riddled years.
But I know what you’re thinking. The same thing can probably be said about throwing a kiddie box perm (a la, Just For Me) in your little girl’s hair. It’s equally as permanent and can have pretty bad consequences (hair possibly breaking off for example) if you don’t keep up with touch ups. I’ve heard many women say (hardcore naturals trolling blogs) that they would never EVER under any circumstances, put a perm in their child’s hair. But what if that’s what your little girl wanted? Could parents be doing more of what works for them when it comes to their children’s hair rather than what works for the little one?
At the end of the day, I’m not trying to push any way of thinking on people or their children–do what you do. However, I’m just simply wondering if by throwing permanent solutions and styles onto your child’s hair because YOU possibly like the way it looks and the more manageable it makes your child’s hair, does that mean it’s the right way to go? At some point they might look in the mirror and be fed up with their look. In a way, I think asking your child what kind of look they would prefer could be a good start to managing kiddie hair woes. But what do I know, I have no kids! That’s why I’m wondering what you think…
But until you and your child can figure out what they want, how are we feeling about those twists, braids, and beads…?
Today I was on Wikipedia and I searched the word “Afro” (actually it gave me Afro textured hair) It was relatively lengthy based on Wiki standards and rightly so. There is a history behind our hair, a legacy even. Now as we find ourselves in another natural wave it’s good to have music to celebrate and encourage us through our natural-haired journey. Check it out.
It’s not unusual for me – and I imagine most women – to get stopped on the streets by some random, yet ambitious hairstylist hoping to drum up new business. However, I was taken aback because the “sista” soliciting my business was not the brown-skinned, natural-head woman I had expected, but rather a golden-blonde dreadlock-headed white girl.
As an African American woman living in what some are calling post-racial America, I like to think that I am progressive on most issues related to race and gender. However, my visceral reaction, as regressive as it may sound, was to scoff at the idea of letting a non-person of color play around in my hair. Not that I am against white hairstylists, but could a non-person of color know about the complexity of my roots, when many black stylists are still trying to figure it out?
Apparently, my reaction and feelings about hair segregation might be a thing of the past, at least according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which highlighted the sudden trend of multi-cultural hair salons serving a more integrated clientele.
According to the Inquirer, the recession, along with changing style trends (such as natural hairstyles), has forced hundreds of African American salons across the country to close, leaving many black stylists to take refuge in mainstream hair salons.
The results: mainstream shops like Saks and JCPenney, which rarely courted the black hair care market before, have now become more integrated with white and black stylists working side by side to fry, dye and blow-dry their clientele’s tresses. As wonderfully progressive as it sounds, I wonder if this recent trend is necessarily a good thing.
The general consensus is that hair salons – and barbershops for that matter—have been viewed as the last bastion of acceptable segregated spaces in our society. Historically speaking, these spaces have not only been seen as safe hair havens, but also safe platforms for candid talk about everything from race to relationships.
Black salons and barbershops provide people of color a place where we do not need to bite our tongues for the privileged caste. Because we certainly have to at work, school and every other public space in society that is dominated by the majority.
There was a time when mainstream salons often didn’t want to touch black hair, fearing that they did not have the technical proficiency. In fact, it was recently that a white barber in Vermont set off a firestorm of controversy when he turned away a black doctor out of embarrassment for not being “good at cutting black hair.”
While these examples may denote an air of racial ignorance, it really shouldn’t be that surprising when you consider that many cosmetology certification programs tend to focus on hair technique geared to non-people of color. Moreover, many black stylists themselves learn how to “deal” with ethnic hair only after they have become certified and have been working for some time.
So, is this new trend of hair salon integration, which may hire one or two black stylists to work exclusively on black hair, really about breaking down the racial barrier, or about mainstream hair salons capitalizing off of the misfortunes of black hair salons in a down market?
The reality is that finding a great stylist is a blessing and if a stylist is good than color shouldn’t matter. I have to admit that the white girl with the long golden-blonde locks had wonderful, healthy looking hair. Yet, as we wave the “diversity is great” banner, we must fully understand what we are gaining and losing as a result of these newfound diverse spaces. Besides the lost of a few places where people of color can congregate without inhibition, we are also losing black salon business, which has long been the backbone of the black economy.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
Unlike the men and women who agonize over the decision for months, if not years, I came to my hairstyle change rather easy. It was after a trip to Brazil, in which a curling iron and flat iron were unavailable to me and the only other option, for the duration of the trip, was a neatly done two-strand twist.
There was no spiritual or political reasoning in my decision, just a desire to reduce the cost of hair salon visits and beauty supply expenditures as well as cutting down the many hours a month I gave away getting my hair “fixed.”
Yet despite the growing popularity of the hairstyle and its social acceptance in the black community, the decision to go natural or to lock one’s hair comes with deep ramifications both personally and professionally in mainstream culture. About three years later, my hairstyle choice has drawn a lot of attention, mostly from curious brothers and sisters, who tell me that they have considered it but are weary that there hair might be perceived as “too nappy.”
Take for instance the story of young Mr. Patrick Richardson, the 16-year-old Vicksburg, Mississippi high school student, who was recently kicked off of homecoming court because of his dreadlocks. Although there was no written policy about the hairstyle, Richardson, along with another student, were told by the principal that homecoming is of “a higher standard” and dreads are not acceptable.
This hair issue is not a new one. In 2006, the Baltimore Police Department issued a new dress policy, which prohibited ”extreme,” or “fad,” hairstyles including cornrows, dreadlocks, and twists. And who could forget that in 2007, Glamour magazine beauty editor made controversial remarks at a luncheon for women of Wall Street, that Black female attorneys should avoid wearing “political” hairstyles like dreadlocks or Afros, because these hairstyles are seen as unattractive and unprofessional.
With this kind of unwarranted mainstream fear of the kinks, it is no wonder that the vast amount blacks, particularly women, opted for the weaves, wigs and chemically and heat-induced straight hair. While straight hair is not necessarily an indicator of one’s own desire to assimilate into the dominant beauty standard, we can’t totally ignore that the decision to go natural can dictate between being employed or unemployed.
In the mainstream, kinky or nappy hair has gotten a bad reputation in our community as being as wild, dirty and shameful. The obvious root of our peculiar relationship to our hair can be traced back to slavery, when the half-white and longer, straighter hair offsprings were treated better – but not by much – than the darker black slaves.
And even in today’s Europeanized beauty-obsessed culture, many of our people still harbor deep in their sub-conscious the belief that straighter hair will be taken more seriously than kinky hair, which is why we spend hundreds of our dollars every year at Korean-owned hair supply stores in hopes that we can buy that professional look.
In a perfect world, Negro physicality including kinky hair, brown skin, full lips and broad noses, would be as normal and acceptable as our white counterpart. But in the real world, some of us cannot always afford to dismiss the societal prejudice that motivates black people, in particular black women, to straighten their hair.
Even after the black is beautiful movement in the 60s as well as affirmative action, sensitivity training programs of the 70s through the present, black folks and their hair is still subjected to the discrimination practices and policies of many corporations.
In other words, sometimes straightening your hair is not a matter of self-hate but rather of survival in hostile environments. On the flip side, I would never consider myself a revolutionary in any shape or form. The very idea that Black hair, in its natural state, is considered “revolutionary” is a point not missed on me. When you have [dread] locks, people treat you different. Prior to locking, I was “Hey Shawty” and “Miss.” After the locks, I am “Sista,”-with and without the “h” at the end.
And while I appreciate the new level of respect I get from members of my own community, it is an honor, which I had not earned. Nothing has changed about me except the hairstyle and yet because of hairstyle, people do make assumptions of me – both right and wrong.