BU40: My Locs And My Society By Kelvin Obene


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Locs, also called “dreadlocks”, “dread”, or “locks” is a hairstyle that is very common to the black race. It is formed by marrying or matting portions of hair into rope-like strands. It is often difficult or in most cases impossible to comb out.
Some people carry their locs maintained (i.e. making it evenly sized, healthy and neat) while some people don’t for reasons I would point out as you read through.
The origin of locs can be traced back to the time of the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Christians in the Middle East.
The hairstyle is very common in our society today but not really accepted by the society. I would briefly write on four reasons why people keep locs;

1) Fashion:

The people under this group see locs as ‘just’ a hair-do. Most of them get tired of spending so much money on artificial hair and decide to go all natural by keeping locs for the time being. They can go as far as colouring them or styling them either by braiding or by using locs accessories to decorate them. Some may shave part of their hair and leave a portion loced. This group of people are so many in our society today.

2) Obsession:

The people in this group think nothing more but locs, they don’t see it as just a hair-do neither does it associate with their belief or culture, they are just in love with the hairstyle. They see it as a simple, natural, incomparable and they rock it. I happen to fall in this group. I feel it is a unique expression of my individuality.

3) Culture/Religion:

Locs are also associated with some cultures and religions. The Blacks see it as part of their history (This happens to be my second reason of keeping locs). The Maasal warriors in Africa are identified by their thin-long, red locs. Spiritual men and women who serve and speak to spirits and deities often wear locs.

Also, in the Rastafari movement, locs are seen to establish a closer connection between the movement and ideology it espoused.

The Indian holy men and women regards locs as sacred, considering their Hindu Religion.

The Buddhist see locs as a way of letting go material vanity and excessive.

4) Superstitious Beliefs:

In Nigeria, kids born with locs are often referred to as “dada”. It is believed that the child is possessed by a demon or has a connection with a deity and if the locs are being cut off without certain rituals done, the child will die. Their locs are mostly left untidy.

All of the above are reasons people keep locs in our society. Connecting locs with the society today, we will see that people don’t accept locs too well, some people see those on locs as hoodlums or irresponsible people even without knowing the reason why that person is carrying that look.

Today, The Government or Corporate firms don’t employ people on locs, only a few do, same as the military. The police would choose to arrest the person on locs over someone who is not on locs in a crime scene even when the person on locs is not involved in the crime.

People on locs are treated like outcasts even amongst their families. I have severally asked myself ‘’why locs?’’, why not wigs, braids, Brazilian or Peruvian hair, why are people on locs treated differently and I’ve found no single reason. In course of my loc journey, I’ve come across so many intelligent, smart and hardworking young men and women whom because of their hairstyle are denied certain things which is of course not fair.

The purpose of this article is to sensitise the public and to bring to their notice that different people are on locs for different reasons, respect that, looks could always be deceiving, identify with them and stop treating them unfairly.

Locs shows power, patience, care and so are the people carrying them. If you’re on locs , keep rocking them, locs are beautiful, very beautiful. Love your locs, take care of it, and do not listen to what people say about it, YOU ROCK, KEEP ENJOYING YOUR JOURNEY.

Kelvin Obene

[IG: @KelvinObene]

Photo Credit: Sylvester Ebisike [IG: @Tunechi_Philips]

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