Yes, It Is More than a Hairstyle
With the continuous popularity of braids and dreadlocks, it seems as if mainstream media is going crazy over this "new" craze that has swept celebrities from Kylie & Kendall Jenner to Miley Cyrus, and the like. These celebrities are praised for their "forward thinking" , "daring", and "trailblazing" hairstyles, but when Zendaya or even regular women of color are caught supporting their natural hair looks they pushed into stereotypical modes and bashed to no end.
Why is that?
Braiding isn't new. Neither are dreadlocks. Cornrows and other braiding techniques dating back to Africa 3500 BCE. Braiding is more than just a style. It was & is a way to socialize and pass down traditions. Some styles even used to state your social standing within the community.
Dreadlocks stemming from Indian sages and yogis retreating to the Caribbeans to seek refugee from enslavement when slavery ended in North America. There were even signs of dreads on drawings & such dating back to Northern Africa 2500 BCE. Locs are believed to prevent energy from escaping & allowing it to remain in the body aiding in the strength of mind, body, and spirit.
WIth all this history & all this culture, one wonders why it is so frown upon for those in the African diaspora to don their own tradition styles? Why is the majority celebrated, while the minority is made to be belittled?
I am definitely not saying no one other than minorities can wear these styles, but I am staying those in the majority should uplift those people, especially women, who are made to feel lesser than because of their natural styles.
People are fired sometimes for their braids & dreadlocks when they refuse to change their hairstyles. Their employer deeming it "unnatural" & "unprofessional". Black women struggling if they should straighten their hair before an interview because they are scared they will not get the job if they wear their natural kinks & curls on display.
Bottom line of all this is this: When the majority, especially White women celebs decide to go out there and wear dreads or braids & are revered, they should remember their privilege in their ability to wear the style while their fellow Black sisters are being belittle for the same thing. Speak out against the media and friends when they say you are trailblazer in hair fashion & site the history and other women/men with the same style. You aren't appropriating when you are actually appreciating the culture & history of the style & not just gentrifying it. Also please don't say you are being "ghetto-fab" or you are "down" by sporting braids or cornrows. You making it seem as if every Black woman who wears cornrows or braids is somehow associated with all the negative stereotypes affiliated with the word "ghetto". It is not cool...so stop.