Loc Journey (and a little History)

Last month my Locs turned eight years old!

I intended to write about this then but life happened.

I started my Loc Journey February 3, 2009. They were born in Norman, Oklahoma. The place I was traveling to when I got it done.

I decided not to cut my hair all the way off. I also decided to get it interlocked instead of twisted the regular way. The interlocking method is when the hair is basically put into knots. It is done with a latch hook (and is, therefore, sometimes also referred to as crocheting the hair or latch hooking) and involves pulling the hair/dreadlock through itself in a rotating fashion from the end of the lock to the root. I started out using the lactch hook (see below) but now I just use my fingers. Interlocking gives the hair a different pattern than the traditional twist. It is also the preferred method for locking hair that is naturally silky straight.

Interlocks

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Latch Hook

What I loved about the interlock method is that I was able to wash them whenever I wanted early on without worrying they would come loose. Interlocks are basically the hair put into knots (and are instantly permanent) and because my hair is super thick, it created a more natural type look, which I love. I am not very high maintenance about hair and prefer the matted look most people hate. I tighten my hair myself but that’s only like every four months.

The “Dreaded” Beginning

There are only a few photos of me with my short short look because in the beginning I wore lots of head-wraps. I was obviously not interested in taking a picture in that first one! Lol. Oh, memories. We were packing up to move that day and hubby thought it was funny to catch me looking like a hot mess. The fact that I’m showing you this is pure comedy.

Head Wraps

Growth – Taking Selfie’s Before Facebook Made it Cool

When I started to see growth you couldn’t stop me from taking Selfies! I loved that my hair looked different than anyone else.

Hang Time

Feeling my hair…

People ask me all the time what I do to my hair and I tell them (all the time) “Nothing.” Usually, I am not believed. “You must do something.” Nope. I wash them and keep it  oiled but other than that I literally do nothing. The style I’m looking for are formed by neglecting the hair so I don’t have to do much.

My hair is very thick and is starting to get really heavy!

Why I Call Them “Locs / Locks”

I rarely call my hair “Dreadlocks”. Not that I knock anyone else from saying it, I just prefer to call them locs. Here’s why:

Dreadlocks go way back; the most noted story is that of the biblical Samson and Delilah. Samson had been a Nazirite from birth and his strength linked to the seven locks of his head. Ezekiel also had locks as he explains being taken by the lock of his hair in Ezekiel chapter eight, verse three. In any event, historically, black guerrilla warriors swore not to cut their hair and when people would see them, their hair matted to their heads and sprouting up, they looked on it with disgust, fear, and dread. In short, the people “dreaded” to see these men coming with their dreaded hair. Soon the style would be known as dreadlocks.But…I don’t dread my hair!

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I love it and have come to affectionately refer to them by their original name, Locks / Locs.

And now, some literature!

These are some of the books I have on Natural Hair. They provide a great foundation for anyone just starting out.

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Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps  << A historical look at the culture of Black Hair.

The Lonnice Brittenum Bonner Collection

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These are great foundation books because Lonnice takes us through her entire natural hair journey, not just when she got locked. She also provides a good education on the maintenance of black hair.

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Going Natural: When LinkedIn Profiles Turns to Racial Profiling

How do we define professionalism?

(not) Mixed (up)

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed a few weeks ago, I came across a status update that was upsetting, though sadly not surprising: “That awkward moment when your decision to wear your hair natural comes up in an interview… and not in a complimentary way…”

My friend Sonia had interviewed for a position as a Social Media Specialist for a marketing startup in New York City. The interview took place in the common area of WeWork, a coworking office space where the startup had put down temporary roots. As distracting commotion took place around them, she and the rather cold interviewer had the following exchange.

Interviewer: “Is that how your hair is in your LinkedIn picture?”

Sonia: “…Yea.”

Interviewer: “Not straight?”

Sonia: “Nope.”

Interviewer: “Oh… Interesting…”

He then made qualifying statements, such as, “So you say you’re good at SEO,” and “You claim to be a good writer.” I…

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Why Natural Hair is Dehydrated

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Today’s post is going to be shorter than the post two weeks ago concerning why perms are afraid of water because a) I’m not a beautician and b) it’s really that simple.

Natural hair is actually not as dry as it sometimes looks, but the reason it is typically drier than other styles is all in the hair strand.

There are, for the most part, three kinds of hair strands. There may in fact be more, but let us stick to the basics:

 
Straight – Rounded Shaft
Wavy – Oval shaft, grows in a slanted direction
Curly, Nappy – Flat or oval shaft that grows more on one side than the other creating a curve. It slants backwards folding over in a tight or loose spiral (don’t be afraid to refer to your hair as Nappy, it just means curly and is not a bad word).

 

hair strandThe human body is quite a creation. Everything about it was created to heal and renew. From the digestive system, that is purposed to clean and purify the body of its toxins and waste etc., to sleep, that is purposed to rejuvenate the body, we’re indeed magnificently made. The body actually already has everything it needs within itself to sustain itself, including hair. hair-straight-silky-and-shiny

Sebum is the naturally oily substance found in hair. It is secreted by the sebaceous glands that lubricates the hair and skin and gives some protection against bacteria. The reason straight hair appears more shiny is because it’s easier for the sebum to travel down the hair shaft. On the other hand, hair in its natural state is curlier, with bends and curves and slants that make it more difficult for the sebum to make it all the way down the hair shaft. Especially in the case of  loc’s when the hair is in a knotted like state. As a result, I tend to apply oil to the ends of my locs more so than the root, which is naturally oilier because of the sebum. Use of shampoos and conditioners that dry out the hair can also contribute to dry hair:

Natural Hair is dehydrated because the Sebum has a hard time getting past all that curl, sometimes never actually making it all the way down the hair shaft. Making natural hair often appear drier than it really is.

e56b532828496455a3982a7628774c10For dry hair, apply a mixture of Shea butter, Olive oil, Coconut Oil, or any oil of your choice, to the hair and scalp. Africa’s Best Herbal Oil is actually very good and inexpensive. You can use it by itself or add it to Shea butter. If your hair accumulates a lot of dandruff or dry flakes, add Tea Tree Oil to your Herbal Oil for a natural medicated remedy.

Fun Tip: I have had the fortunate experiences of not getting lots of lint in my locs. This is because I keep my hair oiled. There are lots of remedies to defeat the lint, but the easiest thing to do if your just starting your locs, or natural style in general, is to keep it moisturized and oiled.

Must Reads: Lonnice Brittenum Bonner

Today’s “Must Read” comes from Lonnice Brittenum Bonner.

IMG_20150917_113615“Good hair: For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Weaves When The Chemicals Became Too Ruff” is a book about the dynamic and care of natural hair for black women. Lonnice shares her experience transitioning from a lifetime of chronically short and damaged hair to an education about how to better maintain and style her own hair. This book is a guide for black women seeking the natural hair care journey. It is also funny and filled with many of Lonnice’s own personal experiences with pictures to go along, which is refreshing.

The only con is that I would not consider this book for any extended research into Natural Hair. I read it back in 2011, two years into my Natural Hair journey, and it’s really just a sneak peek for beginners, but still very insightful.  My favorite thing about this book is that it is Self-Published, which I didn’t know until after I read and then researched the book.

“Outside of being filled with really useful information, Bonner’s book cracked me up. It’s as laugh-out-loud funny as anything in Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale. A combination of ‘how-to’ beauty book and hilarious autobiography…this book is a quick read, a great reference book, and even (and I know this is a cliché) makes a great gift.” – San Francisco Bay Guardian

Also look for:

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This Hair Will Not Apologize

Dread-Locs-and-Sister-Locs-Hairstyles-For-Black-WomenYou can reason all the reasons
Why I embraced the nap
Call it kinky crap like kitchen naps
Cause it no longer snaps, crackles, and pops
There are no more cracking chemicals back there
But Kings fight private battles here
There are wars taking place here
There is strength here
There is healing here
water proof and tied and died and stuck up
This is the only place to be stuck up
To be Israel
To be Egypt
To be Africa
To be Nation
We are nation here
This is covering
There are warriors prepared for battle inside these naps
queens imbedded within the cords of this scalp
the ropes in this scalp
there are ropes here
No more laughing firecrackers to crack open the coils of these bonds
There are bonds here
Long lasting and dedicated bonds here
Battle Axes live here
A bundle of twigs
Not easily broken
this hair will not apologize
so there are no sorry’s here

Rachel Dolezal: A Different View

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I have not yet given an opinion about the Rachel Dolezal story as of yet, though I have been posting about it and following the story like the rest of you. I have heard the testimony of Rachel’s parents and the claims that she has a mental disorder. I have heard people mention that she’s making money off of us, that she needs psychiatric help, that she’s mocking us, and that she’s wearing black face, the list goes on and on. My opinion is unlike those of the black people you’ll run into in the street. I do not hate Rachel Dolezal. I do not despise her. I think not that she’s racist or that she’s crazy. Quite frankly, I like her.

I posted a few days ago a post about how deep this story is, and if the black people out there understood that. I didn’t however, for lack of a better word, edify the post with an explanation and so I thought I’d do that real quick.

061315-national-rachel-dolezal-2Rachel Dolezal, as we are all aware of as of now, is a white woman who has been pretending to be black for some time. She looks physically like an African American and her hair mimics a natural black hairstyle. As a “black” woman, she has been a leader in the attempt to advance the cause of black people, going far as to protest the Exodus movie because she said white people were playing the role of black people (which is true). She has done all of this under the deception that she is not white, but black. Thing is, this does not offend me. It does not offend me that she desires to identify as a so called African American to the extent of wishing she had parents who looked like them, and to the extent of wearing and dressing and fighting for their cause. She wanted to be you more than many of you want to be yourselves. What then is her crime? As a black woman did she commit a crime? Did she degrade herself? Did she jump around like an animal as a black woman or did she become the local leader of the NAACP (can I ask why you’re still calling yourselves colored people? But I digress) and a professor of African Studies at Eastern Washington University?

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How many so called Black people bleach their skin and wear silky blonde weaves? How many of them have crossed the colored line for the chance to be white for the sake of opportunity? How many of us look down on dark skin and kinky hair? How many? So why then are black people emotional because a white woman pretended to be black for a chance to advance the plight of black people? I’m just saying if we’re going to be real about it be all the way real. Don’t tell a white woman she can’t wear a black hair style and excuse Beyonce for wearing a white hair style. Now, she did lie, true. And I must say I do believe she could have done more work as a white woman in the first place. But in the words of Bob Marley:

“Who are you to judge the life I live?
before you start pointing fingers…
make sure you hands are clean!”

There is so much more but let me end with this:

In a comment on whether or not she was African American, Dolezal stated:

“I don’t understand the question.”

Let me explain briefly to you black people why this statement is of such significance to you:

African and American does not define a Nationality. I use it on this blog for clarity but it is not a nation of people. African and American is just two continents put together. It is the continent of Africa and the continent of America. It says nothing to say that you are an African since Africa is a continent with over 50 countries: which of these countries can the African American claim, and which will claim you? The point is that African American does not identify someone’s nationality, their customs and traditions. In fact, prior to 1988, when Jesse Jackson coined the term African American, you were Black. Before you were Black you were Colored. Before you were Colored you were Negroes, and before this you were Niggas. Therefore, I am not offended at her statement because I don’t understand the question either. And I don’t think she’s crazy.

Now, for some laughs, since I after all love to laugh, I’m gonna lighten it up a bit. As of this post I have 478 followers of this blog. I wonder how many I’ll have by morning because of this post :).

Remember, When Going Natural…

“It doesn’t have to be dreads. You can wear an Afro, or braids like you used to. There’s a lot you can do with natural hair” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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I was speaking with a sista recently who recently tried the natural challenge. That is, she went out on a limb and got locs. Thing is, she got tired of them and washed them out. While there are tons (I means TONS) of benefits to dred locs, I just want to encourage my natural sista’s in prolonging this journey with a reminder: When going natural, there are other styles you can try. Dred locs is the first thing that we think about because it is the most popular and we are in a time of re-awakening which,  as with every movement, is always occupied by a specific hair style. In the 60’s and 70’s it was the Afro, today it is the locs. But if you aren’t too sure about it, there’s a lot of experimenting you could do. There are tons of YouTube videos with tons of styles on how you can twist and pull and shape your antennae* in the way of your desire. Then, once you are comfortable with your natural hair, you can decide if you want to loc it up, which because it’s a permanent style, provides security in that you will endure the natural journey a little bit longer.

*Antennae: Hair is not just strands coming out of your head, but every body part exists to perform a certain function. Hair does not just protect your skull, but hairs are filled with your DNA and often act as Human Antennas or feelers to the physical and spiritual realm. For instance: All matter (solids, liquids, gasses) is made of particles called atoms. And as we learned in school, atoms are made of sub-atom particles called “electrons”, “protons”, and “neutrons”. These sub-atom’s all have electromagnetic fields. That means they are like “mini-magnets”. Your bones, your blood, your skin and your hair are all made of “mini-magnets”. As for your hair, it plays many important roles for your body. The least known role is that of antenna. Your hair is capable of sending/receiving information to and from your body exactly like a radio antenna. We have a large population of Wasps down here in Louisiana in the summer time. A couple summers ago, I noticed that I could hear Wasps buzzing in my ear as I swapped at it, (I hate the sound of bees and wasps buzzing) but I didn’t see anything. That is until a few minutes later when one was coming across the room. I noticed that the locs on the left side of my head were picking up the sound of the wasps before they got near.

According to Wikipedia:

“Antennae are jointed, at least at the base, and generally extend forward from the head. They are sensory organs, although the exact nature of what they sense and how they sense it is not the same in all groups, nor always clear. Functions may variously include sensing touch, air motion, heat, vibration (sound), and especially olfaction (smell) or gustation (taste).”