Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Im starting to notice that a lot of American black folk are losing their dreadlocks (this was before George took his off recently, so this post is not at all about you G).

In fact, in my trendster heavy neighborhood, Im even seeing folk of pure Indian subcontinental descent adopting rasta locks, as well as more non-musician white folk doing the long twisties to their hair. At the same time, Im seeing less and less black folk sporting dreads (ersatz or not).

My guess is this is happening for two reasons: It's no longer cool when something you base your unique identity upon has become somewhat mainstream, and too many white folk are doing it.

The other reason probably involves the hassles of keeping the locks looking good, because frankly, it eventually DOESNT look good.

As a born Jamaican, familiar with the Ethiopian Coptic faith, Im sorta glad of this abation of having dreads to authenticate your blackness, hipness and alternativeness. If only because I felt it was being adopted for the wrong reasons. Over the decades, I saw Rastafarians heavily prosecuted and ostracized for simply HAVING those locks, with people steadfastly keeping their hair uncombed and unshorn as an article of faith and spirituality.

Naturally, the coptic faith spread among the young of the Jamaican middle class in the 50's, 60's and 70's as an act of rebellion and perceived freedom from the bourgeois restriction of their upbringing. Plus, all the weed you can smoke?

Impressionable young women flocked to men with the locks, which attracted the attention of musicians, which attracted more women, which...
The adoption by Jamaican musicians in the 60's and 70's spread the look and credo to the rest of the world, with the pleasant side effect of having dreads increased your likelihood of getting laid.
Never mind that polygamy is also an article of the coptic faith.

I think my attitude to people adopting dreads without consideration of it's spiritual roots hardened coming to live in California. Weed being the state plant and an article of being in California, the association with Jamaica, Robert Marley and the sense of being alternative was only natural. And seeing the sale of Jamaican flags with the visage of Bob Marley printed upon them - as a born Jamaican, felt highly insulted.

But, that's the good thing about fads, I guess. Unless you're committed to the concept - they eventually go away.

Cool runnings.

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