What is hair and what does it mean to you? Hairstyling holds tremendous significance for many, from rites of passage to fashion statements, hair is in the forefront and being talked about. DREADS by Francesco Mastalia and Alfonse Pagano is a photographic book on dreads/dreadlocks.
Young, old, black, white, Indian, African, Jamaican, male, and female are interviewed and photographed, all with two common threads…dreads and a story to tell! For many wearing their DREADS is a way of life and something not to be taken lightly, “a hairstyle to some, a lifestyle to others.” They are called by many names depending on who you speak to – DREADS, Jatta (India), Ndiagne ( Senegal -Baye Fall), Palu (Sri Lanka), Natty (Jamaica), Knotted ropes, locs, etc…
The authors share the fascinating history of this hairstyle through pictures, beautifully stunning black and white photographs. From many accounts it dates back to the beginning of time. “The Old Testament recounts the tale of Samson and Delilah, in which a man’s potency is directly linked to the “seven locks” upon his head.”
Contrary to belief, many cultures embrace the locking of the hair. The Rastas in Jamaica, the Baye Fall of Senegal, the Turkana, Maasai and Samburu of Kenya, the Fulani of Senegal, the Sadhus and Sikhs of India, Bahatowie priests of the Ethiopian Coptic Church, Rasta-Buddhists of Japan, etc. As one wearer stated, “When the Father created the man, He didn’t create the comb. Man created the comb.”
One gentleman gives the origination of the name Dreadlocks. He stated “When Rasta first appeared in Jamaica, people where afraid of them – their hair was horrible, terrible, dreadful and the name “dreadlocks” stuck with them ever since.” Many speak of a connection with other “loc” wearers (much like a fraternity or sorority), which serves as an outward symbol of an unspoken common bond.
On the other hand, for some it is a fashion statement. Not adhering to any religious aspect, they just like it or wear it because “it’s cool,” “don’t have to use chemicals to alter the appearance of their hair, etc.” Did you know that in China, young people are spending upwards to $500 (usd) to have their hair chemically altered to “mimic” DREADS. Oftentimes, imitation is the best form of flattery. It is amazing that if you do a search and put in “DREADS’ images of Caucasian people will appear (…interesting…) no people of color.
THOUGHTS for your SOUL:
- “All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his hair grow. (Num 6:5).
- “The locks and the beard are the sign of an ancient covenant between God and His people. They symbolize the Rastas refusal to depart from the ancient, natural way.”
Francesco Mastalia and Alfonse Pagano did an absolutely fabulous job in putting this book together. Behind each picture is a story. A unique and deeply personal account about why they chose to wear their hair that way. Their influences run the gamut from Bob Marley to the Bible. If you are thinking about “locs,” wearing “locs” or just curious, this book is a must read or a great conversation piece!! However you chose to wear your hair, understand and be comfortable with your choice.