Thursday, December 17, 2009
GUEST SPOT: Dreads and Natural Hairstyles by Aayen
Let's see...as far as natural hair goes and my hair, I have always been in to keeping my hair natural. I did experiment the perms and straighteners, but they ruined and damaged my hair. I spent more money trying to repair the damage and making it look healthy that I just gave that stuff after a while. From the time I was in high school I kept my hair in natural styles, short hair cuts, high tops, afros, etc. I grew my hair out and kept it braided for about 2 years with the intentions of dreading my hair one day. So, in May of 1995, at 20 years of age, I finally decided and committed to locking my hair. I am 34 now so I have had my locs for all of my adult life. As far as I am concerned, I have good hair, not because it is curly, straighter than another black chic's hair, or softer rather than course. My hair is "good" because it suits the intended purpose and does exactly what it's supposed to do...cover my head. (It keeps my scalp from burning and my brains from frying when I'm in the beaming hot sun, keeps my head protected from rain and snow, and keeps my head warm when it is cold.) So, I think this way about all hair on everyone's head. To me, bad hair is hair that sheds or falls out excessively--which to me indicates that there might be a condition with the skin or the hair or an allergy to food or a medicine...or something like that. My hair is also good because it's healthy.
Now for me, I always chose natural hair styles because I live a "natural" life style, so to speak. My locs go along with that life style.
So, a brief history of dread locs...
dread locs began in Jamaica amongst a very socially aware and conscious people who shared the same spiritual views (Rastafari). These people lived on the outskirts of society, partly because they were outcast, partly because they didn't believe in the corrupt and unfair ways of society in general. Locs were a statement of separatism, especially for Black people. Because for Black people to function and live in mainstream society and to be accepted by their white counterparts, it was...and is, required that the men cut their hair short and women perm their hair straight. Basically, it has never been acceptable for Black people to reveal anything of their culture, and in essence, who they are. Locs, in part, was a statement of non conformity, a way to give the white man, his laws, and his acceptance the finger. Now there is more to locs that this because there is a spirituality connected to them, and for many it is not necessarily to be rasta. However, it began in Jamaica, by Rastas, who also believe in living simply, naturally, and are vegetarians. Also ways of living and believing that do not coexist with mainstream society. Now, today, locs are different things to different people. They are not so taboo as they once were, and you may even find people with locs working as professionals at major corporations.
I think that today, for many black people who have locs, women in particular, are just coming to terms with accepting themselves for who they are and are finally embracing their beauty. I say such a thing because for generations black women have been mentally oppressed in to thinking that they are not beautiful and made to feel inferior compared to white women.
And finally, I would like to commend you on your site. You have a beautiful family and I appreciate that you make it a point to learn about their different hair types and take such an interest in their differences.