True Power

True Power

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Origins of Dreads part 1

Mullet hair style
Emo hairstyle
If you were to ask the everyday person about the origins of dreads or what they know about dreads; they would begin with Jamaica and the Rastafarians. Dreads are mostly associated with Jamaica and their political struggle. But, after careful investigation, the origins of Dreads can clearly be traced back to Africa. There are several other countries that have an association with dreads such as India and Egypt, but the hair style was an intregal part of the African culture.

Early in Egyptian history plaits were a part of life. Lycinus (an Olympian)is being described as a young Egyptian and his preferred hair style: "This boy is not merely black; he has thick lips and his legs are too thin...his hair is worn in a plait behind shows that he is not a freeman." Another man in history, Timolaus, is quoted in a rebutal about the description of Licinus not being a freeman and the way men wear their hair as saying: "But that is a sign of really distinguished birth in Egypt, Lycinus, all freeborn children plait their hair until they reach manhood. It is the exact opposite of the custom of our ancestors who thought it seemly for old men to secure their hair with a gold brooch to keep it in place." (Lucian, Navigations, paras 2-3).

A recently discovered papyrus from Egypt informs us that Myron the Greek scultor of the middle 5th century B.C. made statues of the athlete Timanthes, victorous in Olympia in 456 B.C.and Lycinus, victorious in 448 and 444 B.C.

There is no other continent in which you can see a diversity of beauty than in Africa. It is from this physical and genetic diversity that all the worlds differing ethinic groups spring from. Africa boasts a full speectrum of skin tones, hair textures ranging from the deep kinky hair of the Mandigos of Sierra Leone to the loosely curled flowing locks of the Ashanti people. The Qua-qua people wear their long locks of hair plaited and twisted which they daub with palm oil and red earth. Many of the people of Africa hair styles are rich in religious and cultural practices.

African hairstyles could also signify status within each tribe. Masai warriors tied the front of their hair into sections of tiny braids while the back hair was allowed to grow to waist legnth. Africans brought their hairstyles with them to the Americas and other countries as they were captured and sold into slavery. As a result of this, the hair styles can still be seen on people of African descent in North America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Hairstyle can be an indicator of group membership: Metalheads can often feature long hair for headbanging, although long hair is commonplace for many men and women outside of heavy metal (ex: Indian sadhus, the hippie subculture, etc). Mohawk haircuts are often associated with punk rock and the punk subculture along with Skinhead haircuts, where the head is often shaved completely bald, or "buzzed." The Mullet hairstyles, has stereotypically been portrayed as pertaining to rednecks. Deathhawk a larger, fuller, back combed version of a mohawk - is popular in the gothic sub-culture, and heavily featured in deathrock and gothic rock bands in the 1980s. The undercut, where the sides and back of the head are shaved short or bald, and the top hair is allowed to grow long is common among so-called "cybergoths" and followers of Industrial and heavy electronic music scenes. This is especially true of women in these subcultures, although the undercut is accepted as a unisex hair style. The Fascinator, is a hair style where the hair is short at the back and long at the front and the front forms itself into a point, similar to a mullet in reverse (also known as a frullet) or a devil lock. Hair that is usually short with a long side fringe [American: bangs] is a cut often associated with emo music and its fan basis. It is often dyed black or vibrant and contrasting colors such as pink or blue. It is considered a unisex haircut and often appears similar to the mop-top (source wikipedia).

Even though hair style choice is individual and as of the 21st century viewed as a personal statement not necessarily tied to any spiritual, political, or group association, the origins of the hair style is not negated. There will always be an acknowledgement of its origins whether they are adhered to or not by its wearer.

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