Dreaded Beauty

Beauty may have different meanings to some people, and it may vary with culture. But, what does it mean in the black community?

Straight hair, weave, braid extensions are what define beauty in the black community. So, when Miss Universe pageant Zahra Redwood, with long locks comes out as a contestant in 2007, she’s wasn’t perceived as beautiful.

Why? Because she has (dread) locks. Dreadlocks can be traced back before Rastafarians in Jamaican. It is known that dreadlocks are dated back in Africa. But, Rastafarians made the hairstyle popular, and what it is today.

Rastafarian- A religious political movement founded by Marcus Garvey.

They were known to have a “dreadful” appearance, and rebel against the Euro-centrism.

Dreadlocks are becoming more acceptable today, but the more manicured your locks are, the more you will be accepted in society.

It’s as if even though we’re natural, we still have that “straight” mentality.

Traditional locks, also known as freeform locks are looked down upon, because they have an unkempt look. Also these locks are more stereotyped by people, especially, non lock wearers.

Stereotypes include; dreadlocks wearers not washing their hair, or being dirty. Marijuana smokers, as well as numerous stereotypes given to dreadlock wearers.

Hence, why the term “dreadlocks” offends some people. Because, some people think dreadlocks carry a negative term, when in reality there is nothing “dreadful” about dreadlocks. It’s all in their mind.

This is when the term “Locks” came in to play. The idea to change the name probably means something to some people, but regardless they’re still roped like hair that are still dreadlocks.

I often wonder when dreadlocks wearers-of all forms would be accepted in America because I feel that a lot of employees are missing out on a good employer if they are judging them solely on their hair.

Websites cited:

http://www.jamaicans.com/culture/rasta/dreadlocks.shtml

http://www.religionfacts.com/a-z-religion-index/rastafarianism.htm

12 Comments

  1. Blacks need to get past seeking white approval for who they are. You are never going to get it. If locks are a part of your culture and the way in which you express yourself then go with it. Don’t seek anyone’s approval black or white. Be who you are and rock the look you want. I love locks because they break the stereotype that black hair or nappy hair won’t grow. Truth is if we stop fighting against the grain and texture of hair we will see how beautiful it can be.

  2. Denyce, I agree also. Validation-seeking Blacks make a large percentage all over the world.
    Too bad some dont “get it”.

    I <3 Locs !!

  3. Thank you for this article, coming from the west indies locs are the norm for women!!!

  4. i agree that a lot of black people seek approval, but there are a lot who know that cetain hairstyles will keep them from being gainfully employed. and that keeps them from expressing themselves to the fullest.

  5. Wow, That is something else. I have no problem with dreads myself, if I were to get them I would wear them kept neat and clean and proudly. People just have to learn to be open minded.

  6. i think they are beautiful, and just like any other hair style, one must commit to taking good care of them.

  7. i’ve got locs and LOVE THEM. i had my ‘fro for years and then decided i wanted to take the next step. loc’d my hair and there is NOTHING dreadful about them. they’re my crowning glory and make me feel super sexy. funny enough, many of the compliments i’ve gotten about my locs have come from white folk. they seem amazed by them, i have no idea why but hey, more power to them. they have no hampered me from being employed nor do i think they ever will. i can understand why some are turned off from free form locs, but that is there opinion. i’m turned off by relaxers so… go figure. and please, don’t be fooled, me keeping my locs neat and maintained has ZERO to do with me wanting to be “accepted” by white folk and EVERYTHING to do with my own love of style and function. period. *swings my locs in the air*

  8. I agree with Denyce! We need to stop looking for wwhats approved and whats not! I have locs and some people even black ppl look at me like Im crazy..and the crazy thing is..I keep my locs up!!!! It dosent matter what people say or think, it’s all about what makes YOU feel beautiful! Regardless if you want a weave, braids, fade, or have locs..whatever makes you happy!!!

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