CUSTOM: At long last…LOCS

Corset Kitten’s finished work.

FYI – it is not currently in vogue to call so-called dreadlocks by that term anymore. They are now referred to as “Locks.” The “why” should be obvious. I am not the originator of the change in terms, but being a believer in the Whorf Hypothesis, I do abide.

Several months ago I posted about an OOAK Artist who creates Lock styles. Her work is amazing. But I can’t really afford her stuff. I exchanged a few emails with her but ultimately decided that I needed to overcome my fear of re-rooting and learn to make my own locks.

I made my own re-rooting tool and did a few test plugs…I was proud of myself for taking that step.

Help with needle sizes and what your needle should look like after you snip it. Stick this into a pencil eraser and you are ready to re-root.

I scoured the internet for help. I experimented A LOT. Nothing I tried seemed to really work.

Today I was on Anika McKay’s Dollz4Moi blog and after catching up there I went to the list of blogs she follows and found a blog called Vita Plastica which had some great stuff including a reference to a site called Corset Kitten’s Workshop.

Corset Kitten had a tutorial for doll sanding – which was pretty “out there.”

I say “out there” because when you become an Adult-Barbie Enthusiast (as I did about a year ago) you quickly learn about rebodies, boil perms, re-roots and repaints…but I’d never heard of body sanding until today.

Corset Kitten intrigued me with this “sanding” thing so I started looking around her site some more.

LO and BEHOLD, I found Corset Kitten’s Quick Tutorial for LOCKS!!!!!

You know what’s crazy? She posted the tutorial TODAY!

I actually found her tutorial on the very day she posted it. How could I be this lucky? I decided it must be some sort of Adult-Barbie-Enthusiast Karma I had stored up.

Corset Kitten suggests that you put on some music while you “lock” so I have provided the most cliché song possible. Then again, don’t confuse my admission that it is a cliché for an apology. I can’t apologize because the song has such a catchy tune and one of the best messages EVER.

…you know the words so don’t hesitate to sing along!

38 Comments Add yours

  1. Danielle says:

    I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks for pimping me! Looks like fun project huh? The former love of my life (before the Husband) had locks so the terms is sort of ingrained in me. I can’t wait to make this blog a frequent stop on my blog visits!

    1. I am still trying to retrain myself but getting better and losing the “dread”. How long ago did you first hear that you should not use “dread”? I just became aware of it in the last year or so. When I lived in Bermuda the tourist shops sold merchandise that said “I See Dread People” with little cartooned Lock’d men. First, it was dumb bc Bermudians who wear locks are about as prevalent as Americans who wear locks – but it was the first time I remember thinking “Wait…what? why are they called ‘dread’ locks anyway”

  2. Lola says:

    Sweet! I recently tried to lock some barbie hair with glue and hair gel…it didn’t turn out well at all. Now I just have to find some roving…

    1. Lola – I tried with glue and it looked terrible!! I still want to know if Tabloach uses wool or some kind of nylon…but I am going to give this a go.

  3. Ms. Leo says:

    Hey just a little correction on “FYI – it is not currently in vogue to call so-called dreadlocks by that term anymore. They are now referred to as “Locks.” Where did you hear that? I think outside of the black community they may not call dreadlocks but it is still called that in the community that it originated in!

    In the world culture many things are shorten and that often changes or dismisses the original meaning. I was in middle school before I knew that bus was short for omnibus. I have heard dreadlocks referred to as dreads more than locks! I do believe in a way, the “Mc-wording” of those things that are African –African American is an attempt to “sanitize” black culture out of existence…to make it soooo neutral that is no longer has substance.

    The good thing is that at that point it tends to fall out of vogue in the mass culture and we have it back to ourselves. The bad thing is that often we are left with the mass culture definition in print and not the original definition. Vis-à-vis the whole Afro hair thing.

    Oh a lighter note I love your ideas on re-rooting tools. I have a doll in mind that I had planned to do for some time now after reading a seeing some other post on dreads on the web. I think I too need to do a post.

    1. Ms. Leo –

      the change from “dreads” to “locks” is coming from the newer Black Consciousness movement. The idea is that “dread” means something negative and you shouldn’t have to dread someone who wears their hair natural. I was shortening it to “dreads” too but I have a friend from high school (black) who wears her hair in “locks” and someone (black) commented on her FB photo “thanks for not calling them dreads” — so I looked it around on the web to find out what was going on. I had been hearing less direct comments like that for some time. There is a film called “My Nappy Roots” that I am planning to watch on Netflix today. I have a feeling they are going to say something about it in that film.

      There is a big tide of public opinion happening right now around black hair. I have known white mothers of mixed children who complain endlessly about how hard it is to fix their daughter’s hair. I don’t think that is the right message so I am very, very conscious of the messages I send even in the smallest ways. My daughter, who has the most amazing wonderful hair has started (yes! at age 5!) saying she wants long, straight hair. These are message she gets from school because I wax endlessly about how much I love her curly hair and how lucky she is to have curly hair. Her appreciation of curly hair is THE reason I do search high and low to find ways to give dolls hair that I love.

      Yesterday morning I was fixing her hair for school and she didn’t want me to put any conditioner on it. I said, “Honey, you have very powerful hair. Your hair does not just lay down like most people’s hair” so my husband says, “Leah, what she really means to say is –” and he stopped short bc he saw me glaring at him, “What I really mean to say is you have very POWERFUL hair.” then I said to hiim, “Don’t say C-R-A-Z-Y or anything like that bc it is very important that she know that her hair is amazing and wonderful.” I actually think he was going to say “You have ‘black’ hair and I think he thought it would be funny bc we have a number of jokes in our household around skin color and those work just fine.

      Anyway, I am sorry that it seems my tongue-in-cheek comment about Halo was not taken well. I was absolutely not trying to sanitize the blackness out of it. I thought about calling it an “Afro Halo” but the fact is that 99.999% of white people’s hair cannot achieve that look and so you don’t need to need to add the blackness to it to have a word that denotes the amazingness that is that hairstyle. I just don’t like that I can’t seem to say the word “Afro” anymore without it sounding like a joke. It bugs me. Especially when I am awestruck by natural hair.

      My best friend is a dark-skinned woman with a dark-skinned husband and three of the most darling children you have ever seen. When they were younger she often had their hair in “Puffs” – notice I don’t say “Afro Puffs” bc it is dumb to me to say “Black People Hair Puffs” and it’s not bc I don’t like black people. I LOVE black people. I just think it’s dumb to say “Afro” for every hairstyle black people wear that isn’t emulating white hair. Anyway, she was saying she hates it when white people ask to touch their hair and I say “Why?” and she said, “Because they always remark how soft it is. Like they are surprised.” and I said, “Do you understand how stiff our hair has to be to get even a quarter inch of lift? They are not implying that black people shouldn’t be soft. They are marveling at the small miracle that black hair achieves every single day. Please don’t take it as some kind of prejudice when it is pure, unadulterated awe.”

      So Ms. Leo, I swear I am not upset that you spoke your true feelings about my “note” I think your thoughts and my reply are a necessary addendum to the original post.

      Let me know how the re-rooting goes!!

    1. Danielle says:

      Sigh. People are always trying to school you huh? Just using the term “African American” is sanitizing black culture, isn’t it?

      You come from a unique and difficult position of having a child of color and I think you’re handling it beautifully. And I feel you Leah! Some woman wanted to touch my daughter’s hair and I was just livid. She’s not a side show freak.

      I can speak from first hand experience that the “natural hair” neo soul crowd uses “locks” or “locs” and have for a long time. I first heard it 17 years ago from my then-boyfriend and I will never call it anything else unless I need to clarify for people who don’t understand.

      I just prefer to err on the side of not offending. If someone WITH LOCKS tells me they prefer me to not use “dread” then I won’t. Never mind what everyone else thinks.

      1. Danielle,

        I enjoy the discussion. I really do. Being aware and sensitive is my goal. I do think choosing to say “locks” or “locs” is the best position for me to take at this point (esp as a white person) bc it indicates awareness of the natural hair movement.

        I like the term “Neo Soul” in this context. Your former boyfriend had strong feelings about his loc’s not being called “dreads” is that right?

        I like that you note that only a person with them on their head can ask you to call them “dreads” at this point. I think I will take that as my position as well.

        When I lived in Bermuda – a predom black country – there was a contingent of Neo Soul folks i hung out with from time to time and they preferred the term “locs” – I knew a Jamaican however, who had close cropped natural hair and he used the term “dreads” – and thought my Bermudian loc’d friends were posers.

        He was different in many ways – he worked in computers like me so in many ways he was more “mainstream” but he referred to children as “pickneys” – which was cute but definitely different.

        My point in caling them “Locks” was to show that i am not “new” to the discussions going on right now but i realize now I should have called them “Locs” instead. I also mentioned the controversy because i wanted to make sure my post would come up in a search for “Dreadlocks” and “Barbies.”

      2. corsetkitten says:

        Well, I can honestly say I had no offense intended when I posted my tutorial. I just called them what I’d learned and knew other folks (when I lived in the US) called them.

        Sorry if I offended folks, but there are just clueless people like me out there.

        And yes, I’ll admit that when I was 8 I actually had a perm that gave me an afro. I can only totally respect and admire people who can make em look good! I love the look on other people (and yes, on dolls)

        1. Kitten,
          You didn’t offend anyone by calling them Dreadlocks. I created the uproar by saying it was more proper to call them “Locks.” First I was wrong in that the people who have probs with “Dreads” like to call them “Locs” without the “K” and second I was wrong in the widespread acceptance of “Locs” as preferable over “Dreads” — many blacks feel the opposite. One even said, “I’d rather dreaded than locked.” meaning the non-hair and there is a complex history. My FYI should probably be changed to note the controversy.

  4. Actually I am seeing a ton of discussion with both sides making good points. I think the important thing is to keep in mind that there are a variety of opinions out there. Here’s an ironic twist. Based on this thread it seems that white people who wear “them” like the term “dreads” bc the act of wearing them is something they do to signify their “outsider-ness”

    they want to be “feared” and “misunderstood” in a way.

  5. In some ways I worry when my blog crosses over into political topics but then I realize the entire premise of the blog is a political act. I am saying that I don’t want my daughter playing with bunch of tall skinny blondes in high heels, heavy makeup and nightclub dresses. I am saying the Barbie Aisle doesn’t do it for me. I love SIS dolls but even they are a little too “glam” for me at times. I like diversity – skin tone, hair length, hair texture, body type, height, weight, etc. I like different ages. I want it ALL but instead of complaining, like I would have in my 20’s – I recognize the pressures that Mattel has chosen to abide by and it is my political act not to accept those things and show others how they can do the same. So…I love the discussion 🙂

  6. So one more link:

    and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this is far from a settled topic.

  7. By the way, someone asked me to clarify the “Whorf Hypothesis” that I refer to. Whorf said that “language controls thought” so that when people complain that they don’t want to have to change how they say things because someone thought it wasn’t “politically correct” they are way off base. People change the way they say things in order to be more disciplined in their thinking. If you can’t speak with precision, you can’t think with precision. That’s the thought behind the so-called “Political Correctness.”

    I use the term “black” when I refer to “black people” regardless of origin. So Jamaicans, Bermudian, Bahamian people all have naturally tightly curled hair. If I am talking about that hair it is “black hair” not “African-American” hair. Which would be ridiculous to say.

    Other terms that bug me and lack discipline are when someone uses the term “white slavery” what the hell is “white slavery”? It implies that the word “slavery” has some kind of built in “blackness”. Which of course, it does not. Unless you are a short-sighted idiot. And I am lucky that no one who reads my blog is that stupid.

    I can do a similar rant on the mis-use of the term “reverse-racism” but I’ll calm down.

    So when I say Whorf Hypothesis I am using that as a short-hand way of reminding people that I am commited to precision in speech.

    1. Danielle says:

      I think my old boyfriend would like you a lot. He cautioned me about “Word Power” all the time. He would cringe if I said something like, “My head is killing me!” A lot of it stays with me today. I’m a big believer in The Secret and to some degree it involves that. Speaking positivity and positivity will come to you.

      I find myself using the term black a lot more than African American except in formal situations. My family is Haitian, so calling myself AA removes that entire history from the equation. I think it has also colored (no pun intended!) my view on being black in America.

      I enjoy the debate too! And I really like how you handle every comment with such peace and understanding. Glad I found this blog.

  8. Very interesting discussion going on here. First I would like to say, I am glad that you found the tutorial. I know you have been trying to do this for some time. Thanks for the finding the tutorial. I love Corset Kittens blog, but haven’t read blogs in a few days.

    Now for my two cents on the other matter…

    Actually there are two distinct terms. Dreadlocks and locks (alternately spelled locs). You are correct that the people who get their hair locked today, see the term dreadlock as a negative term. But the people, (ie most Jamaicans and others) who have real ‘dreadlocks’, still refer to them as ‘dreadlocks’. Historically speaking, the term dreadlocks was associated with people who were deemed more spiritual and closer to God. They were likened to Samson in the bible, who was set apart for God’s service and therefore did not cut his hair. The people with ‘dreadlocks’ were to be dreaded or feared, not because of their hair, but more because of their spiritual closeness. But as is usually the case, the African American community has allowed other cultures to define the term negatively, and we have hopped on board without true understanding of the history behind the term.

    1. Excellent addition to the conversation. Thanks for the input. 🙂

      1. Ms. Leo says:

        Hi Danielle,

        African American is not a sanitization of Black culture.

        I used the phrase African American instead of Black because African American denotes the people and their offspring of those brought to the U.S. from Africa as part of the slave trade. It separates them from those who immigrated here from Black countries or other Blacks (no matter how they got there) living somewhere else in the world. Is that a misnomer… maybe but saying you are American tends to mean you are from the US and not Brazil. All though there are some similarities in the experiences of “African Americans” and Blacks from other parts of the world, they are different experiences. I wouldn’t begin to speak for those other Black’s experiences, as I hope that they would not speak for my experience.

        In the circles I travel in, Dreads is the style and locks or locking is the process. It is not “Neo Soul”, it is just the deal! One has to be careful of trends. They are often not backed by history. The term Dreads has nothing to do with how you feel about how it looks. That is the type of thing that happens when people fixate on one part of a phase as being negitive. There were Black people who didn’t want to be called Black! They would say “I’m not black, I’m brown”. The same people in the 70’s didn’t want to say hello because they said you were wishing someone hell and hell is low. Crazy right!

        Do be afraid to call an Afro an Afro. Trust me, it don’t have a negative view in the Black community. It never did. There will always be people in the black community with an Afro! Afro also refers to the size too. Small Afros are sometimes called a “Hustler”. (close cut fro) I don’t know why. I have to look that one up! Oh also hair doesn’t always have to “lay down” or be sculpted. It is good just to let it go some day! Maybe not to school but a day or two at home to really know your hair!

        you are sooo on point! You can’t let other define you or just put it on the internet and into the universe unchecked. When you say what is in vogue…in vogue with who and where? And yes Danielle, you are trying to school at the point you say that. It must be justified.

        I know you may not want to be political when you talk about Black hair but Black hair in Afro-American culture has never been two separate issues. They have always been intertwined somehow. Maybe it is because your hair and your brain are part of the head…or wearing your hair naturally means accepting that part of you that is African and letting the world see it…I don’t know. I applaud your trying to give your daughter a positive self-image but know you are not just battling against what is being said in school but what is on TV, in magazines, movies, and ….VIDEOS! It is an uphill battle! We who are on the battlefield salute you!

        Good Luck!

        1. So I read all of Vanessa’s links and the full history and complexity make it a very interesting topic for sure. I read the “loc” thing as coming from the black community. I do agree it is an uphill battle but I am hoping to suceed and Leah’s barbie world is my canvas.

        2. Also, love knowing the term for the hairstyle as “The Hustler”
          Hell Low is a bit out there.

          we use brown and black depending on the situation. I tend to say “I love your brown skin” but if we are talking about something broad and cultural and say “Black people” and “White people” In conversation with whites I will say “As the mother of a black child…” because I want them to understand that she may self-identify as black and she may be identified by others as black and that will make her experiences a “black experience.

          We have a running joke that I believe I am black bc I want to be black so badly. Leah says, “Mom! Look at yourself” and I look at my hand, realize I am white, and do a theatrical scream. This morning my husband was looking at a picture of a white man hiking and he said, “that’s me hiking” and Leah said, “That’s a white guy. You’re a brown dude – A black dude.” So I don’t know if she’s picked up the difference yet.

          I am able to watch for my daughter’s development of racial concepts in her barbie play. She often will make a white child the daughter of a black woman or an Asian girl the daughter of an black woman but recently she said “She has a black mom and dad” about a black child on TV. She explained that the girl is darker than her and that’s how she knows it. I may want to do a blog post on this.

          One more thing – If you’re black, I’m white. But if you’re brown then I’m Peach. Cuz that’s the color of crayon I used to use to draw my skin.

  9. Danielle says:

    I really do think “African American” is sanitization. We’ve changed our name more often than P. Diddy in some vain attempt to erase the prejudice, the negative connotations of “black” and “colored” and “Afro American” and the like. I’m sure 85% of black Americans have no knowledge or desire to have knowledge about their African heritage. All that seems to matter in our culture is what happened when we got here.

    We’re not remembering the pride of being kings and queens (and really, enslaving each other) back in Africa. Our racial memories are filled with pain and shame and humiliation. But we still wear that like a badge of honor. And we continue to separate ourselves any way we can. Even from other black people whose ancestors went through the same thing! Or those who look different. Or those with more or less education.

    My belief, in this and in all things, a battle is only as difficult as you make it. Being oppressed by the media/peers is a choice (if you’re not a teenagers). The media also tells us to be a size 0 and carry an Hermes bag. I don’t give that any power so it has no power over me. And black America has told me to listen to R&B and watch Tyler Perry movies but I’m not (usually) doing that either. You CAN break away from the brain washing!

    Then again, I’m a light skinned, curly haired, (racially) color blind, black American from a culture much more African than African American culture. This tends to make people think my opinion doesn’t matter. So I’ll shut up. After my long comment! 🙂

    Dang, this blog makes us deep. I haven’t had to dig so deep and write out my feelings in a long time. Thank you all for that!

    1. I once hired an intern from rural Missouri and she referred to a co-worker as “The colored guy”. I told her “Honey, No one uses the term colored anymore” but i was secretly thinking her townspeople must have used the N-word and she didn’t know what to say to sanitize for us uppity city-slicker white folks. I think “Colored” could have been okay but it was too associated with the Jim Crow south. Plus it was used by South Africa to lump Indians in with Africans and that is only useful in the most limited circumstances. I still hear “People of Color” used to pull Latinos into a conversation, so that is useful in that context.

      I respect the right of some blacks to use the N-word casually to reclaim it. I know whites often claim that it is unfair that they are not allowed to use the word as well. If a white person doesn’t understand even that, I don’t have time to talk to them. On the topic of defining oneself, I knew some wheelchair guys who referred to non-wheelchair people as “Temporary Able-Bodied” or “TABs” for short.

      Danielle – you should not stop commenting. Your opinion would be valuable even if you weren’t Haitian but it is so much more fascinating because you are and that makes your perspective literally different. You are intelligent and thoughtful and that makes you extremely valuable to me. (oh and you like brown dolls, so you must be cool)

      1. Actually I think you are the product of a Haitian and a White American, is that correct?

  10. Danielle says:

    Thanks Kristl, I guess we all have our own perspectives. I grew up in Stone Mountain, GA, where I was frequently told “You’re not a n—-r, you’re a black person.” And “You’re a nice colored girl.” This was after moving from NY. Talk about culture clash.

    No I’m not the product of a Haitian and a White American. Both my parents are Haitian.

    Haitians are divided into two classes. The high class, 10% of the population which has 90% of the wealth. They are very light in color usually with fine hair. And the lower class, the side of the population that everyone is more familiar with. Dark skinned, no money.

    My mother’s side had the class but no money. My father’s side had no class but were educated and owned businesses so they had money.

    It’s not only divided by class and color but by lineage. For instance, if you gave my grandmother a family name, she could have told you where they’re from, what class they are, if you’re related, etc. For instance, my last name was Lesperance, which basically means “hillbilly” haha! My step-grandfather just passed and this is his obituary:

    Even if you can’t read French, you can see name after name after name. My mother is in there and so is her maiden name, so you can tell what sort of woman his son married. It’s crazy.

    Oooh, what else I find really interesting and disgusting, we also divide each other into groups according to skin color and hair texture. I’m giving the female version of these words below:

    Grimelle: light skin with kinky hair
    Marabou: dark skin, fine hair
    Griffe: medium skin tone, texture between grimelle and marabou
    Mullatresse: light skin, fine hair
    Noire: dark skin, kinky hair. If they’re good looking, they are “belle noir” or “beau noir” for a man.

    The whole thing is fascinating and gross!

    1. So all of this is exceptionally fascinating. The names for the different looks is, just as you said, both fascinating and disgusting simultaneously. The listing of née for each married woman is funny and sad too.

      The name seems to be L’espere related so “The Hope” does it also kind of mean “The social climbers. The hopers. The ones with aspirations”

      My family went to NYC last Thanksgiving and we a saw a play called “A Free Man of Color” at the Lincoln Center theater. Prior to seeing this I had not heard of Toussaint L’Overture. The character in the play was played by Mos Def (whom I adore).

      Anyway, it was heartbreaking to see how President Jefferson screwed him over. Just disgusting. It seems white people can peel back the onion and find no end to the horrible things they have done to people of color.

      What prompted your parents to move to the US? I cannot believe you moved to Stone Mtn Georgia…I’ve heard so many good things about that place (not!)

      1. Lola says:

        “It seems white people can peel back the onion and find no end to the horrible things they have done to people of color. ”

        Pretty much.

        The whole discussion on color and hair and perceptions and culture if fascinating, but I do’nt have much to contribute. But this conversation goes to prove that no matter how much society tries to lump people together, black people don’t have ‘hive brain’ any more than any other group of people. It has always bothered me when a black person is expected to be an ‘ambassador for their race’–like any one person can speak for any other entire group of people. I have a very dear friend who is black, and in her life she has often been expected to be the “black voice” in groups of white people–and it doesn’t seem like she should have to be. On the other hand, where white people have expected her to be ‘the black voice’ in a group, in college she took flack because she wasn’t always considered ‘black enough’–whatever the hell that is. She really took that accusation to heart until we found out that the African exchange student, and actual AFRICAN african was sometimes chided for not being ‘black enough’…wtf? As a white person, i have NEVER been expected to prove that I am ‘white enough’. It sucks that it’s even an issue:/

        1. Lola – that’s fascinating. I know Leah will get it from both sides. I figure that’s just her burden to carry. Then again, maybe by the time she’s old enought we will have come just that much further and thre will be less of that. Lol on your “Pretty Much”

  11. Lola says:

    Another method–using yarn rather than wool. I for one will have an easier time finding yarn than roving.

  12. serenada says:

    Did someone ask the Rastas before they cleaned up “dreadlocks”? Because it’s a self-chosen word, used by dreads to describe their hair. In patois, it’s a positive connotation, and I’m a little startled, as a Jamaican, to see what seems to be Americans repurposing the term.

    But your average dread will go on calling his hair what he calls his hair, and he will be rocking his own black consciousness movement in his own yardie style.

    I just…I can’t believe people took the hairstyle, and didn’t take a cultural understanding of what surrounds it. Way to go to appropriate.

    1. Serenada –

      I can’t account for who is doing the changing or whether they are right for doing so. I just know that the people I know that have Locs have asked that I call them that. I knew more Jamaicans when I lived in Bermuda – but the one’s I knew were not Rasta. And I knew lots of people with Locs, who were not Rasta – who were very so-called Conscious and they wanted them called Locs.

      It’s clear that in my opening I seem to have overstated the degree to which there is a new consensus on the term change. I have stated in my comments that the issue is far from simple and far from resolved.

      I read that the word was not self-chosen by the Rastas. But again, this is something that seems less than simple and less than clear. If Americans are choosing to wear their hair in that style, and their styling may or may not be rooted in the Rasta pre-cursor, do they have a right to self-choose their own word? I am just wondering when and where the self-choosing starts and stops.

      1. serenada says:

        The word is absolutely self chosen. It’s a matter of great Rasta pride. And the American hairstyle was adopted from the Caribbean one…but at this point I guess we can clearly call it appropriated, and now we’re having the cultural roots erased. I think that’s offensive, as a Jamaican, but I’m not going to tell anyone else what to call their hairstyle. That’s not my place.

        However, I will judge them if they want to cut themselves off from the roots (no pun intended) of it, an origin that’s steeped in more racial consciousness than most people ever consider having.

  13. When you say “the American Hairstyle was adopted from the Carribean one” – I think that would be hard to prove and one that I would guess many Loc wearers may not completely agree with.

    I realize that Rastas are definitely the most famous wearers of loc’d hair but certainly they are not the only ones and correct me if I’m wrong but the Rasta method seems much more organic than what most Americans wear. So they seem to me to be enough different that Americans could make their case that they hairstyles are completely different. I did read one woman saying that her method for loc’ing her hair is very different than the method used by Jamaican Rastafarians.

    In any event, this issue is not one I am attempting to argue. I have no vested interest either way. I am simply trying to be respectful of wishes that have been conveyed to me.

    My nephew wears his hair in locs because he thinks it looks cool. He’s in college and he’s had them since he was a freshman in high school. If I asked him about black consciousness he would not understand the term. I see him as neither being racially concious or unconcious.

    I don’t see him as cutting himself off from his roots – he just realized his hair could do this cool thing and so he did it.

    i’ve never asked him what he’d like me to call his hair. He’s never asked me to call it anything in particular.

    What are your thoughts on all of this?

    1. serenada says:

      Dreadlocks were mainstreamed by reggae performers like Bob Marley (okay, pretty much just him), and the American adopters of the hairstyle refined and controlled the process in things like Sister and Brotherlocks. But you get Rastas in Jamaica with the same kind of locks as you see with many Americans here.

      I’m surprised that there’s any question about this–I thought it was widely known. Rastas, while far and away not the only locks wearers, were the ones that popularised them in the 20th century, and are part of the reason they were seen as so radical a hairstyle (so much more than afros or cornrows, because you’re also evoking a non-Christian god, even if you don’t believe in their tenets the echo is still there).

      The reason people called the dreadlocks in the first place is because Rastas called them dreadlocks. Otherwise why do it? No previous locks wearers used that term, because they didn’t consider themselves “dreads” (which refers to their reverent fear of Jah). That’s a pretty clear indicator of their heritage. Which Americans are now, apparently, trying to scrub clean and take out the proud defiance with which this community wore their hair, because it’s a “bad” thing. No, not at all. Do some research.

      Now, if you want to take it out because you want to distance yourself from Rastas, knock yourself out. But don’t try and apply racial consciousness to the etymology without doing the research first. It’s a rich and vibrant history that existed before Americans got their hands on both the word and the style. And Rastas understand the power of words and have been repurposing English for decades to drill home their points. They know exactly what they’re doing. They don’t mess around with expressing themselves linguistically. It’s serious business. It was so much more than a hairstyle, it was a way of life.

      1. So I enjoy hearing your perspective – especially as a Jamaican – but think things take quite a turn at the point when you say “Do some research.”

        I thought that sentence was uncessarily snarky. Things go further South from there. Your entire last paragraph is strange bc you say “You” a lot and I am not sure if you mean “You” like a universal you or you mean “Me” like “Kristl” — because I can assure you (again) I am not vested in this in anyway – and as I have stated, I am simply trying to abide by a request that was made of me.

        There are tons of places on the web where black Americans who wear locs are discussing this issue and think you would enjoy discussing this issue with them there.

        I am certailny not running from having this discussion but the problem is that on the subject of whether they should be called “Locs” or “Dreadlocks” – I have no opinion and no real reason to develop an opinion.

        When I tried to create a tangent (my nephew’s hair) that was something I could reasonably speak on, you ignored that option in favor of something more important to you.

        Again, I’m happy to discuss things, I’m just not sure wer are finding a subject we both have an opinion about.

  14. Ann says:

    I really love playing with barbie´s hair :!)

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