Black History Trivia: What about those locks?

BTL Staff
By | 2018-01-16T06:18:35-05:00 May 2nd, 2017|Uncategorized|

By Imani Williams

We spend a lot of time money and energy primping over our hair. Good hair day, all is well, bad hair day you better go on somewhere and leave me alone. Locks are becoming increasing common, so let’s clear up few things.
African Americans and others have been seen and heard saying derogatory things against locks partially due to ignorance surrounding them. It is almost un-PC to use the term dread locks. Dread is Old English and refers to fear and horror. Locks and tresses also are of English origin. Dreadful was a term used by the English when speaking of the African’s hair when they were captured and brought to the U.S. against their will.
It is believed, and common sense might have us understand, that lying in the bowels of a slave ship during the Middle Passage for months on end would make anyone’s hair unmanageable to say the least. It adds further insult to injury to call an African’s hair dreadful.
Five common myths about ‘locked’ hair
1) It’s dirty. False. Only if you don’t shampoo it. Most folk shampoo and condition once a week or bi weekly depending on their personal taste.
2) You can’t get a job with locked hair. False. Dress codes vary; sure there are some industries that are more geared towards non-traditional hair styles. Word to the wise, get the job first then do your hair in the way you want to wear it.
3) You’re a militant if you lock. False/True. Locks and reasons for locking vary with each person. It is an individual choice. Most people who lock are on a journey to self love.
4) You have to cut your hair off to change the style. True. Locked hair is nappy, tight-coiled hair. It’s thick and strong like a lion and doesn’t back down to rain, or snow or sustained heat. So once it locks, it’s locked for the long haul. Most people who lock worked hard for the privilege and intend to keep it that way. For those who choose to try something different the option is always there to start over.
5) Locked hair shows character. True. For each person who has met the disapproving glare or unkind words from someone who doesn’t understand the freedom that comes from loving yourself and your hair there are thousands of ‘nappy head’s who answer questions of total strangers with pride. There is community in those who ‘hug up’ in greeting and a knowing nod that, “my hair is my glory.”

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.