At times I am ashamed to admit that my decision to lock my hair was based laziness rather than some deep socio-political reason. I was in my third year and about to sit all my final exams in ONE week. The thought of spending my time combing and patting down my afro for tthirty minutes each morning just to get it to the right proportions did not appeal to me. I asked a friend of mine to twist my hair and four years later here I am ‘all locked up’.
Over the years I have come to appreciate the politics of dreads and the burden and responsibility that is cast upon dreadheads. To be fair this is not unique to dreadlocks, every black hairstyle carries some sort of burden the only difference that I have found is that there very women with locks so I tend to stand out more.
Being a locked sister in the Caribbean has been an amazing experience. I still get the usual you-are-a-weed-smoking-rastafarian looks every now and then but in a country that has a dreadhead for every sqaure inch I find that other people with locks (usually men) treat me with respect. Many will say things like “respect sister” when I walk past. No body here wants to touch your hair and ask you jackass questions like “do you wash your hair” or even sillier “how do you wash your hair”.
I used to have a problem with people mistaking me for a Rastafarian; now I don’t really mind. Those who care to ask will get an explanation, and when I see other Rastas/dreadheads I join in and give them respect…One Love y’all