True Power

True Power

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Interview with Nanci Maynard

The Low Down On Dreadlocks
By: Nanci Maynard aka
The Klingon Princess aka Tyr's Wife


I've been contemplating doing this for a while. After all, I've had dreadlocks for going on ten years now. I first had my dreadlocks done on July 4, 2001.

I live in New York City and I saw a small shop advertised in my neighborhood newspaper. This was convenient because it was within walking distance from me. It was only about three blocks away from where I lived It took me all of ten minutes to get there. Surprisingly the shop was open on a major holiday.

The shop was a small one person operation, run by a lady named Ajasa Olemajoke.

Why did I decide to get dreadlocks? It was NOT because I'd become too lazy to comb my hair! The reason was I suffer from severe migraines and I COULD NOT comb my hair without inflicting severe pain on myself just from combing my hair.

I was tired of wearing it very short, which I did for many years. Because of this I was often mistaken for a boy or a young man or gay. Also my ultra traditionalist West Indian Mom kept getting on my case to “grow and do something with my hair”!

To my Mom doing something with my hair meant either "straightening it or having it permed". Ugh!!

Well, I couldn't stand for my hair to be braided, because some folks braided it too damned tight! And I was “tender headed", which means I had a very sensitive scalp, and it was even worse because of the migraines. So, dreadlocks were the next option.

When I went to her shop, I'd expected Ajasa to cut my hair down to nubs and start “baby locks”. That's what happened to several of my friends who had gotten locks. I had medium length hair, but, she refused to cut it. She washed and proceeded to dread my hair by using beeswax and a rat tailed comb. Remember those?

From start to end when she washed, conditioned, twisted, and sat me [under] the hood dryer, it took about two hours for Ajasa to complete the process. And no, it did not hurt.

Before I left, I was cautioned not to let my hair get wet or wash it, until the next time we met, six weeks later.

At first, like when I first started wearing contacts, no one recognized me. If I had a very poor self image, I would've been insulted, but I wasn't.

Of course, I got the questions, like “Why'd you do THAT to your hair? Why didn't you get braids? You have such a nice quality hair, why would you do THAT to it? Why didn't you do the perm?”

To answer the last question, I had a very bad experience with the perm. Years ago, I was talked into having my hair permed one day, went home, woke up the next day and all of my hair was on the pillow! You can best believe, NO MORE PERMS FOR ME!

The ultimate question was: “Can you take them out?”. I have yet to find a diplomatic way to say “No, you have to cut them all off, and start growing your hair all over again.” When I say that, most folks wince and rock back like I've given them a left hook. . . . .

After having my hair “locked” up, I went back to Ajasa's about six times. About once a month, then I struck out on my own. It was costing me way too much money to have my hair done.

Each time I went to see her, it would cost me $100.00. Plus, I usually gave her a twenty dollar tip. I quickly learned how to wash and twist my own locks and I've been doing it ever since.

Now, I have my own established methods. First, I buy my shampoo and conditioner on sale for around a dollar a bottle, sometimes less if I catch a really hot sale. I usually buy White Rain or VO5. Why? Because it usually takes an entire 15oz bottle to properly wash my mane! Conditioner, I use about a half to three quarters of a bottle each time. So, you can see where just buying shampoo can cost me a good piece of money if I wasn't thrifty. Okay. . . .cheap . . . . . LOL!

After trying several brands of beeswax, I finally settled on ”Murray's“ pure and natural Australian Beeswax, to twist and hold my locks. I also use “Nature's Blessings” Hair Pomade to oil my scalp on a regular basis. We “sisters” must oil our scalp, ya know. . . . Dreads do not look good with dandruff!
Before I sleep I put my hair up in a bun and tie it up in a black stretchy cloth, ( bigger than a "doo rag" ) in order to keep my locks neat and free from lint.

Twisting dreadlocks is a simple process. While they are wet ( I've found that dreads lock best if twisted when wet - yes, I've tried it dry - don't work), you dab some beeswax on the unlocked section of each lock closest to the scalp, and twist counterclockwise. You do this for each and every lock on your head ( if you have one hundred, then you do it one hundred times, etc ), twisting them all in the SAME DIRECTION! This is where the tediousness comes in.

This is also where I don't blame men for abruptly cutting their locks off and opting for either short hair, or braids. In my personal opinion ( I know, who be me? ), a black man looks so very sexy with dreadlocks when they are well-kept!. But, the key words are WELL KEPT! When they start looking like crap, I second the emotion to cut them off, YESTERDAY!

The one well-known male who had dreadlocks and looked drop dead stunning and scrumptious in them was "Keith Hamilton Cobb"! Who dat? He played Tyr Anasazi, on “Andromeda”. Like I tell everyone. Go to Photo Bucket or Google him! Careful, your eyes may fall out!

Back to the subject at hand . . . . . .

Since I've had my hair locked, I've personally cut my hair a total of five times. Having your hair dreadlocks really make one's hair grow like crazy. Why? Because you're not ripping your hair out with a comb or brush, and you're not burning it out with harsh and caustic chemicals.

I usually cut it down from waist length, to shoulder length. I hate doing that, because I feel like I'm cutting off a piece of myself. And I am. Sometimes I cry and suffer intense remorse after doing it. I know, what a wuss am I.

I cut it due to three reasons: 1) It's summer time and my dreadlocks get very hot and very heavy. This is especially for me because I am very physically active. I like to work out and run and I sweat like crazy. 2) Sweaty hair, tends to smell and not too pleasant. My personal theory: If I can smell it, others can too. Which means more washing and maintenance more often. 3) It gets long enough for me to sit on. Now, that is the ultimate last straw!

It's bad enough that when I get on a bus, a baby would reach out and give my locks a good yank! Yep! I've had that happen! I've also had adults do that too! I guess they wanted to know if my hair was real. But, that hurts!

To me, it is a big responsibility to have dreadlocks. I make sure I take care of my locks on a regular basis. Since I don't have the money to go to a shop, I do everything myself. I wash, I towel, I twist, I blow dry or air dry if the weather is warm.

I consider taking care of my hair, my “me” time. I twist my locks while listening to music or the radio. It is relaxing and stress relieving. Usually after I finish twisting my hair, I sleep like a baby.

I've recently reached an impasse where it comes to my “mane”. Since I'm getting older ( aren't we all? ), my hair is turning gray and white in many places. I'm seriously contemplating cutting it way down and re-growing my locks to let them grow back in gray.

Why? Because I don't like two-toned hair, and I REFUSE to “dye” it as some of my friends have suggested. They have not a clue how much hair dye it would take to accomplish that task, and how expensive it would be to maintain that farce. Plus, I no longer put harsh chemicals in my hair.

Whatever my decision is, I am definitely KEEPING my dreadlocks!

You can check out this wonderful lady's portfolio at: http://electladynancy@writing.com

4 comments:

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