Dreadlocks are essentially entangled locks of hair achieved through various means of rolling hair. It's hard to tell who had them first, because early humans, lacking combs or styling products, probably roamed the planet with matted hair.
Multiple sources credit the Vedic scriptures of Indian origin with documenting the first evidence of twisted locks of hair as early as B. Historians and anthropologists have found evidence of the 'do in ancient Egypt, Germanic tribes, Vikings, Pacific Islanders, early Christians, the Aborigines and the New Guineans as well as the Somali, the Galla, the Maasai, the Ashanti and the Fulani tribes of Africa.
Bear in mind, though, that the actual term "dreadlock" comes from the Rastafarian culture, which is widely credited with popularizing the look in Western culture. Rastafarians consider the locks a sign of their African identity and a religious vow of their separation from what they call Babylon, a historically white-European imperialist structure that has oppressed blacks and other people of color since way back when, according to Migrations in History. Given dreadlocks' rich history, it's hard for one group to claim them, said Feminista Jones , writer, speaker and former wearer of locks.
For others, it's just a hairstyle. My research informed me that Indian monks wore them long before they reached the Western Hemisphere, so I'm not sure anyone has any particular claim. Like many, she does not care for how they look on some white people. Whether it counts as cultural appropriation, she's not so sure.
I wonder if an Indian person could say I was appropriating them? When people with power and privilege decide to 'validate' customs and traditions that oppressed people have long been marginalized for by saying 'This is the hot new thing,' then we have serious problems. Or when they refuse to credit the people who innovated those styles or traditions, but claim them as original ideas, then we get into appropriation," she said.
I do think white people have to be mindful of their privilege, though, and think twice before hopping on the newest 'trend,' especially if it clearly borrows from disenfranchised people. Writer and longtime locks lover Jamia Wilson began adopting the look 10 years ago as a return to her natural state. She remembers seeing white people with dreadlocks in the same Berkeley, California, salon she used to visit for regular maintenance.
Jamia Wilson. She loves her locks but acknowledges they come with baggage. Relatives initially worried they might jeopardize job prospects; a professor advised her to straighten her hair if she wanted to make it in broadcast journalism. There have been times when reactions to her hair have made her feel unsafe. Strangers occasionally approach her for drugs. A homeless man once called her a "dirty-haired bitch" for not giving him money. She wonders whether white people with dreadlocks go through the same things. She does not wish to "police" locks or discourage anyone from wearing them. She would ask, though, that they consider the context.
Dreadlocks have become a popular hairstyle among professional athletes, ranging from Larry Fitzgerald 's dreads down to his back to Drew Gooden 's facial dreadlocks. In professional American football , the number of players with dreadlocks has increased ever since Al Harris and Ricky Williams first wore the style during the s. In , about National Football League players wore dreadlocks. A significant number of these players are defensive backs, who are less likely to be tackled than offensive players.
American people have developed a large variety of ways to wear dreadlocked also for hair. Examples include flat-twisted half-back styles, flat-twisted mohawk styles, braided buns and braid-outs or lock crinkles.
Dear white people with dreadlocks: Some things to consider
Locked models have appeared at fashion shows, and Rasta clothing with a Jamaican-style reggae look was sold. Even exclusive fashion brands like Christian Dior created whole Rasta-inspired collections worn by models with a variety of lock hairstyles. With dreadlocks style in vogue, the fashion and beauty industries capitalized on the trend. A completely new line of hair care products and services in salons offer all sorts of dreadlock hair care items such as wax considered unnecessary and even harmful by many ,  shampoo, and jewelry.
Hairstylists created a wide variety of modified locks, including multi-colored synthetic lock hair extensions and " dread perms ", where chemicals are used to treat the hair. On July 3, , California became the first US state to prohibit discrimination over natural hair. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the CROWN Act into law, banning employers and schools from discriminating against hairstyles such as dreadlocks, braids, afros, and twists. In the West, since gatherings of hippies became common in the s, dreadlocks have gained popularity among Caucasian, counterculture adherents such as hippies , crust punks , New Age travellers , goths and many members of the Rainbow Family.
Traditionally, it was believed that in order to create dreadlocks in non afro-textured hair, an individual had to refrain from brushing, combing or cutting. This lack of hair grooming results in what is called "free form" or "neglect" dreads, where the hair matts together slowly of its own accord. Such dreads tend to vary greatly in size, width, shape, length, and texture.
If the wearer is interested in any uniformity of their dreads, they must pull the matted strands of hair apart to ensure large clumps don't form. All that is needed alongside the regular separating of sections is regular washing; oily dirty hair will slide along each other and never form knots. Some people will spray a water solution with added sea salt and essential oils to dry the hair and accelerate the matting process.
A variety of other starter methods have been developed to offer greater control over the general appearance of dreadlocks. They can be formed through a technique called "twist and rip", as well as backcombing interlocking and palm rolling. Using beeswax to make dreads can cause problems because it does not wash out, due to the high melting point of natural wax. Because wax is a hydrocarbon, water alone, no matter how hot, will not be able to remove wax. As with the organic and freeform method, the salon methods rely on hair naturally matting over a period of months to gradually form dreadlocks.
The difference is in the initial technique by which loose hair is encouraged to form a rope-like shape. Whereas freeform dreadlocks can be created by simply refraining from combing or brushing hair and occasionally separating matted sections, salon dreadlocks use tool techniques to form the basis of the starter, immature set of dreadlocks. A "matured" set of salon dreadlocks won't look the same as a set of dreadlocks that have been started with neglect or freeform. For African hair types, salon dreadlocks can be formed by evenly sectioning and styling the loose hair into braids, coils, twists, or using a procedure called dread perming specifically used for straight hair.
For European, Indigenous American, Asian, and Indian hair types, backcombing and twist and rip  are some of the more popular methods of achieving starter dreadlocks. Regardless of hair type or texture and starter method used, dreadlocks require time before they are fully matured. The process hair goes through as it develops into matured dreadlocks is continuous. There is also the ability to adopt different types of fake dreadlocks that may make the hair look as real as possible.
This process is called synthetic dreadlocks. There are two different types of synthetic dreadlocks. The first is dread extensions, in which other hair can be infused with the wearer's own hair. The second is dreadfalls, in which one dread is tied into another with either elastic or lace. Both of these methods are used to make dreads look better and more appealing, and to achieve the desired effect of longer hair.
On December 10, , the Guinness Book of World Records rested its "longest dreadlocks" category after investigation of its first and only female title holder, Asha Mandela, with this official statement:. Following a review of our guidelines for the longest dreadlock, we have taken expert advice and made the decision to rest this category.
Effectively the dreadlock can become an extension and therefore impossible to adjudicate accurately. It is for this reason Guinness World Records has decided to rest the category and will no longer be monitoring the category for longest dreadlock. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.
What I Learned As a White Dude With Dreadlocks - VICE
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
This section needs additional citations for verification. University of Michigan [Michigan]: Bloomsbury Academic. His jata dreadlocks are elegantly styled, and the source of the Ganges issues from his topknot. In the background are the Himalayas where Shiva performs his austerities. Yale University Press. The boxing boys on a fresco from Thera now the Greek island of Santorini , also B. Sidewalk Editions. Martin A Companion to Ancient Education.
Fresco from West House, Thera Santorini , ca. Retrieved 6 October Archived at the Wayback Machine Toronto Life - Retrieved Athens and the Peloponnese. Avalon Travel. The hair in both is filleted into a series of fine dreadlocks, tucked behind the ears and falling on each shoulder and down the back. A narrow fillet passes around the forehead and disappears behind the ears.