Little Powerful Hair

A decade and a half ago, I washed my hair, and then — like a rockstar with a guitar on stage, I moved up and down my head before cutting off the water supply to the showerhead. A moment later, I looked at myself in the mirror and liked the hairstyle, the shape that my hair was left with while water was forced to leave my head. This was the beginning of the dreads, rasta, roots, I am wearing today. Shortly after this first self-admiration, I began to search for how I could maintain this look, this hairstyle. It started with a twist and grew into a project that a few years later I abruptly shut down.

Before it was discovered that hair can be colored, one of the sacred books, written by humans, described hair as a source of power for Samson. Similarly to Bruce Banner without the Hulk, Samson without his hair found himself not invincible. His power was taken away when Delilah tucked him to sleep and then shaved his hair. Was the name Black Power inspired by Samson’s story?

Combining length, shape, color, texture, etc., haircuts continue to be a big deal for many people. Hairstyles and hair products generate revenue for big companies. You can imagine any haircut you would like to wear and a stylist will make it happen. Just be ready to pay the full price — sometimes, even a very painful too.

A friend of mine recently released a post on Instagram where he briefly appeared to describe the struggles he experienced due to his hairstyle. It’s a little bit surprising that people still use hair to not only put “a tag” on a particular individual but also to “underrate” beauty — black beauty.
Are both the results of work that was systematically done to shape people’s ways of thinking? Evidence and life experience show this to be true. We can have a closer look at Samson’s story to maybe try to understand how deep this is. Let us not forget that the story was printed by humans and how many people use the bible to guide their life.

Ask yourself, how can your hairstyle determine if you should qualify as the ideal candidate for a job? Be the right partner for someone’s daughter or son? What does your hair say about your lifestyle, your state of mental health? What do you believe in? Looking at the bigger picture, ask yourself why is this still happening in the 21st century? Have you noticed that inclusion means discovering hidden talents which ultimately are beneficial to us all as a society or as one world? By continuing to adhere to a practice that inhibits access to people’s talent, which side of the progress you are on?
I dream to see a sheik, a priest with dreads. A politician, a country leader.

It is not a long time ago that two high profile people, who made their living by acting in front of cameras, were involved in a physical altercation on live television after one of them made a joke about a third professional actor's haircut. The event triggered various reactions across communities. I am making the connection to this story because for black people, hairstyle has been a particular beauty standard — a systemic work that started before my time. A standard aimed at stretching curly hair at any cost.
Having watched Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair when it was first available on Netflix, it was surprising to see the lack of sensitivity while joking about Jada P. Smith's haircut, which automatically made me think that maybe the entire event was scripted which would justify Will Smith’s reaction and not encourage anyone to mimic his behavior on stage. Most of us know them as actors first. Chris is a professional comedian who revealed the complexity of black women's hairstyles in a documedy.

People with dreads continue to find themselves the target of prejudices. Adding a darker skin tone will seamlessly intensify preconceived ideas. This is present between, and across, races. I ended my first hairstyle with dreads because of absurd things that were direct at me because of the way I choose to wear my hair. A decade later, I am back to my roots and support the brothers and sisters out there on a similar journey. The absurdity did not stop during the last ten years. The dreads were gone but my skin color kept the same shade. A black man, who decides to wear dreads, needs to be prepared to overcome more obstacles that wouldn’t otherwise be found in his way.

Bob Marley’s rasta was not the problem. People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Jean Seberg, Jamal Khashoggi, etc. conveyed a message that did not fit during their time. They stood for what they believed in.

Peace and Love!

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