Locs, dreads, dreadlocks what are we even calling them these days and does it even matter? Not really I guess, but what does matter is the lack of inclusion they seem to have with the whole natural hair movement. They are an outsider, an on-looker if you will to the movement and the participants that are screaming at the tops of their lungs about how much they love their natural hair.
Dreadlocks are natural, right? Sure they are but where’s the love for them? Heck, even as I write this post there is a red squiggly line alerting me that it must be misspelled or an incorrect word. Oh well I guess I’ll save it to my word list smh
Many believe the origin of dreadlocks come from the Rastafarians of Jamaica but they can be found even further to Indian sages and yogis. There are known examples of dreadlocks dating back to North Africa and in ancient Egypt. They get their name from Jamaican tradition because people with the ‘natty’ locs were feared and ‘dreaded’ and they were Judeo-Christians of the Caribbean Islands who wore dreads as part of their religious existence.
They were introduced into pop culture by the ever revered Bob Marley. Bob tied his music to his love of God and the messages got muddled and became a symbol of pop culture that was fashionable and so began the popularity of dreadlocks in mainstream culture.
Dreadlocks have a long history despite their very recent fashionable allure. Men and women have been wearing locs for years and no matter what style may have erupted during the past 30 years one could bet on seeing someone, somewhere rocking locs.
Can you go to a reggae festival and not see half the participants without locs regardless of race? This means that locs were popular prior to the natural hair movement but despite their impact on our culture they seem to be sitting by in the shadows of the natural hair movement?
The Natural hair movement is self-sustaining now but it started off slow with a somewhat steady pace less than ten years ago. It probably hit a real level of significance around 2010 after the movie by Chris Rock called Black Hair. Black women are embracing and celebrating their natural tresses and as we see natural hair grace fashion magazines, the runways, celebrities and on billboards.
What we do not see too much are looks that involve locs, they haven’t quite seemed to make it to the mainstream in comparison to loose natural hair, locs seemed more like the red-headed step-child of the fashion industry.