Question: Is it ok to have dreadlocks as a fashion statement instead of for spiritual reasons?
There is a common debate about the value of dreadlocks. Many see locks as a symbol of heritage, while others see it as a symbol of trend. This trend has been growing over the past 8 years. During this period of time, it was hard to find resources or videos that educated viewers about taking care of their locks and naps. Today, there are several publications and websites dedicated to natural hair care.
As the market expands and social connection deteriorates, another form of division has been developing within the dreadlock community, due to a clash of individual beliefs or integrity. This clash of differences has generated from the purpose or reasons behind growing locks. Whereas some people grow their dreadlocks for looks, where others grow their dreadlocks for spiritual reasons... The hair corporations have become the influence to inspire another group of individuals, who don't grow dreadlocks at all… instead this alternative group simply purchases them.
Question: If an individual asked you if they could purchase your locks, would you consider the request to be acceptable behavior or perverse? I ask because it has become a trend within the hair industry. There are businesses throughout the world, that have been established on the concept of pawning people’s locks… particularly locks grown from nappy hair. Meanwhile, there is also a trend of individuals giving offers to individuals who have locked their hair. Similar, to the already existing behavior of wealthy couples offering to purchase children from poor families. The spiritual process of growing ones locks, has become a market of profit and status. The sacred worth behind the cause and the process, has become trivial to popular civilization.
As always, I want to understand the why behind an action…. But before understanding this boom in popularity of locks, it is important to have a clear understanding of the history.
Brief History of Dreadlocks
Since the beginning of human history, well before the tribes of the Caucasus Mountains returned to the valley, people wore locks. There are images and statues of early civilizations around the world, that demonstrates the legacy of dreadlocks. In addition to these ancient works, many ancient gods and goddess wore a crown of locks to demonstrate their power, legacy and wisdom. The peasants who worshipped these gods, did their outmost to mimic their Godly image as mortals.
As it was discussed in previous articles, African hair, in the days of our ancestors, was tried as though spirits dwelt in it. In ancient tribes, only the anointed had the right to touch someone’s hair. The practice behind creating a unique hairstyle, was valued as a religious practice adorned by the gods. Therefore, the growth of hair, particularly in locks, was a sacred symbol of blessings, wisdom and strength.
Thus, it is not surprising that at some point in time , all nations wore locks.
But as time progressed, the views of society changed. And where others quickly dismissed the image of dreadlocks as barbaric, there were still many who held to the spiritual practice of their ancestors, even though the full reason was forgotten.
As the westernized civilization developed, those who continue to wear locks endured centuries of social change, accusations, isolation and cruelty for growing their crown. The symbol of the locks became a symbol of rebellion, freedom, strength and knowledge, many of those who kept to the practices of their ancestors, were the ones who led nations into freedom from the oppressor. And as time continued to progress, the meaning behind the image changed again, as it represented specific religions, such as Rastafarianism. Thus, the value of its meaning remained sacred, until our current generation.
Back to current day
Expression, is indeed the property of the creator who expresses themselves.
Though expression is a source of freedom, the expressional practice can be either fulfilling or empty.
In association with the traditional image, there has been a development of superficial representation of dreadlocks. These sub cultures have inherited the locked looks, to demonstrate that they are in connection with the Rastafarian nation, however, their overall integrity, lifestyle, mindset and personal agenda counters the beliefs they claim to follow. Many of these individuals use dreadlocks as a way to symbolize their “street life” or use of illegal substances. And have unfortunately, created a bad reputation for individuals with locks with a constructive lifestyle.
Expression is free, but expression at the expense of others is costly.
In the original question, is it ok to have dreadlocks as a fashion statement instead of for spiritual reasons?
I believe that any fashion statement that has been adopted from strong roots or religious sources, should be adopted with the awareness that you are still (even if indirectly) representing a community of peoples. Therefore, an adoption of a religious practice as a trend, should be treated as a change of personal lifestyle or self-respect, in order to keep universal integrity.
How do you feel about people requesting to buy another's locks? How do you feel about people purchasing other's locks? How do you feel about people attaching other's locks, to "quickly" grow their's?