Are dreadlocks cultural appropriation? All you need to know

Are dreadlocks cultural appropriation? All you need to know

Hair is an inner expression of one's freedom. We wear it as a daily accessory, standing tall on our heads differently. Different people prefer different hairstyles, one of them being dreadlocks. But what are dreads? What are the different ways to wear them, and are dreadlocks cultural appropriation? Find out all you need to know about this hairstyle.

Are dreadlocks cultural appropriation
Man with dreadlocks. Photo: @mentalhealthamerica,
Source: UGC

Dreadlocks are rope-like strands of hair formed by locking or braiding hair. Many myths surround this hairstyle, but so are nonfiction realities. In the Rastafari movement, they are an important religious symbol that connects their wearer with their God, Jah. But are dreadlocks cultural appropriation?

What cultures can wear dreadlocks?

Although they are now a common hairstyle, dreads were common in cultures like ancient Egypt, Vikings, Germanic tribes, Pacific Islanders, early Christians and some parts of Africa like with the Somalis, the Galla, the Ashanti, the Maasai, and the Fulani tribes.

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Where did dreadlocks originate?

The origin of the hairstyle dates back to one of Europe's earliest civilisations in 1600–1500 BCE. The hairstyle was used as a social and cultural symbol often associated with shamanism, a religious practice that involves interacting with the spirit world. This hairstyle represented a connection with the divine and often symbolised strength and integrity for warriors and chiefs

Is it okay for a white person to wear dreadlocks?

Are dreadlocks cultural appropriation?
White woman with dreadlocks using a laptop. Photo: @fauxels
Source: UGC

While it is not common to see white people with dreads, no rule of law restricts them from the same. So, to the question, can white people get dreads? Yes. White people can get dreads as much as black people because dreads are more cultural than race, and white is not a culture but a race.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Who can wear dreadlocks? Anyone can grow locks, regardless of race and religion, as the hair's texture is what matters most.
  2. Did dreadlocks originate in Africa? They have a long history in Africa. It is believed that some of the first people to have sported in locks as early as 500 BCE were in Africa.
  3. What do dreadlocks symbolise? Locks are perceived as a connection to wisdom.
  4. Are dreadlocks a religious thing? The wearing of hair in locks by Rastafarians is believed to be spiritual and is justified in the Bible: They shall not make baldness upon their head.
  5. Are twist braids cultural appropriation? No. Twist braids are one of the many hairstyles available, so there is no cultural appropriation in the hairstyle.
  6. What are the benefits of dreadlocks? They are a protective hairstyle. Because of their nature, your hair is protected from tugging, breakage, and drying out, promoting growth.
  7. How long does dreadlocks hair last? With proper maintenance, they can last indefinitely.
  8. What are white dreadlocks called? White people in locks are discriminated against and often called "dirty hippies" with the assumption that they are drug addicts and lazy.
  9. Can you undo dreadlocks? Yes, locks can be combed out. Though a painful procedure, properly cared-for locks can be reversed. The process requires that you approach it with much care and patience.
  10. How do I take care of my dreads? Shampoo and condition your hair regularly to maintain cleanliness, and use oil to avoid them drying out and becoming brittle.
  11. Are dreadlocks unprofessional? While there has not been a reasonable explanation as to why dreadlocks are bad and unprofessional, some employers have continued to insist on Eurocentric hairstyles, and those that do not conform face the repercussions of rebellion.

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When it comes to hair, everyone is free to choose what style to wear depending on their hair type and personal preference. People should not be discriminated against based on their hair type or their cultural habits and beliefs.

The head is a playground on which the hair is the toy. This applies to both men and women. published 50 plus African hairstyles for men from which they can try out and explore with.

A famous quote reads, your hair is the crown you never take off; therefore, you should appreciate it and go for the hair of your dreams.

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