African Dread and Nubian Locks
Malcolm X wrote of his “conk”: “This was my first really big step toward self degradation: when I endured all of that pain, literally burning my flesh to have it look like a white man’s hair. I had joined that multitude of Negro men and women in America who are brainwashed into believing that black people are ‘inferior’ –and white people ‘superior’ –that they will even violate and mutilate their God created bodies to try to look ‘pretty by white standards” (X 356). Many black men and the majority of black women have diverted themselves from the wearing of unprocessed (natural) hairstyles from the fear of losing approval from whites and fellow blacks as well.
Today there are different styles of locks around the world worn by both blacks and whites. Next to the Afro, Dreadlocks are the second most common natural hairstyle of blacks in America. History shows that a form of locks dated back to the time of the Old Testament. The books of Leviticus (21:5) and Numbers (6:5) both talk about not making baldness on or touching a razor to one’s head. Thus the name African locks comes into place in today’s society.
Popularizing the style known as dreadlocks are a group of people known as Rastas. These societies of people are the founders of an Afro-Caribbean politically orientated religion known as Rastafarianism. Rastafarianism is more of a way of life than a religion, although several religious beliefs of Christianity are strongly followed. Rastas outlawed the cutting or combing of their hair citing the aforementioned scriptures from the Bible. The style was copied from photographs of Masai warriors from East Africa and is a defiant assertion of their Africaness. The name dreadlocks was...
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...ors and the extraordinary leaders that came before them. In these cases, they refer to their locks as Nubian Locks (“Nubian” referring to the black man’s history in Africa and their greatness as patriarchal kings). These are the locks that I desire to grow and wear proudly.
I like to smoke fine hand made cigars, not marijuana. I like to play tennis, as oppose to standing on a street corner. I have a beautiful family, well paying job and I am a full time college student. However, should I have to comprise my spiritual and cultural transformation in order to be accepted by the status quo? I will not.
hooks, bell. “Straightening our Hair.” Identities. Ed. Ann Raimes. Boston: Houghton
Mifflin Company, 1996.
X, Malcolm. “Hair.” Multitude. Ed. Chitra Divakaruni. New York: Mc Graw-Hill,