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image courtesy Falice Chin

Dreadlock Soldier

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People have been describing me as the "Asian girl with dreadlocks" for the last three years, but this statement is invalid now because I just cut off my dreads two weeks ago. Many people don't understand the significance of such an act, in fact, most people don't know anything about dreadlocks. There is a growing trend of people weaving their hair into dreadlocks, but it should not be just a fashion trend. Dreadlocks are a lifestyle, a statement, and to some they bear religious meaning.

Although many cultures have a history of people wearing dreadlocks, Africans are most often associated with it. This is due to the fact that African genetic "fro" hair dreads a lot easier than the hair of other races. It is an exclusive nappy trait of the race, and they often use it as a symbol of their culture. A few decades ago, many African Americans grew dreadlocks as a form of rebellion against white oppression. Dreadlocks are so widespread among the African race that it is often called the black hairstyle.

Unlike getting one's hair permed or braided, dreadlocks do not happen over a few hours. Even for Africans whose hair dreads up naturally, it is a long process. Some salons offer to dread up your hair for you for the price of $200 and websites sell dreadwax and shampoo that promises to help form instant dreadlocks. But beware, these are all scams that thrive upon human wishful thinking. The truth is, messy knotted hair does not equal dreadlocks.

True dreadlocks are formed by tightly weaving hair together. They cannot be washed out, combed out or "undreaded." Early dreads tend to look messy, fuzzy and dirty. This is because it takes the hair about half a year to adjust to the changes and learn to weave together naturally. Most dreadheads find it hard to bear the commitment for the sake of vanity and cut their dreads off within the first few months. Early dreadlocks also require intensive care otherwise they become disgusting and smelly. There are specific steps in washing and keeping the dreadlocks tidy, though many dreadheads fail to do this and therefore contribute to the stereotype that "dreadlocks are dirty."

The nature of dreadlocks is so unique that it is a lifestyle. Growing beautiful dreads involves deep commitment, perseverance and faith. This statement may seem a bit exaggerated, but any true knotty head will confirm it. Dreadlocks are anything but vain as most people with dreadlocks go through months and sometimes years of ugly-looking hair before any real formation occurs. Beautiful dreadlocks are found only in those who truly love the discipline that comes with having it.

Bob Marley and other reggae artists have composed songs about Rastafarian ("Rasta") hair. In no other culture are the dreadlocks placed in a higher social position of importance. All Rastafarians wear dreadlocks, and they view it as a covenant between Jah (God) and humans. Rastafarians do not cut their hair, so dreadlocks often serve as a sign of brotherhood. It is not uncommon that anyone with dreadlocks is mistaken as a Rastafarian, though many are not and do not follow Rastafari beliefs.

People with dreadlocks have long been misunderstood by those around them. Many knotty heads, including myself, faced ignorant stereotypes and judgements.

Some of these stereotypes say that dreadheads are lazy dirty stoned hippies. This is far from the truth as dreadlocks are not always associated with pot and the 60s. Furthermore, dreadlocks is not a "lazy" hairstyle, it is one that involves much hard work and patience. Mature dreadlocks are harder to find, but they are beautiful and tight, without any loose hair dangling on the sides.

Dreadlocks will remain a mystery to most people because only those who wore them can understand every aspect of the lifestyle. People grow dreads for different reasons, and most find individualism through the process.

How to start your own dreads:

This is the basic way to start. There are many other methods and further research should be done before you start dreading up your hair. Remember that knotted hair does not equal dreadlocks. Time is the key element and a lot of patience will be developed. I have a website that provides thorough information.

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Comments

we were looking at your website this afternoon and found that we became considably intrested in what we came across, so we took it apon ourselves to write a comment to your website. we do hope that you have plessure in reading this comment because it took us over an hour to think of all these long words and also we used the oxford dictionary. By the way i did use your directions for geting dreadlocks and it is very successful and i am very gratfull with your help. P.S. we are not mental or anything we just like to have a good occasional smoke so if you think this took us a long time then try to read it when you are stoned or something rather simular.. BYE P.S.S. I hope you have a lovely day, PEACE!

hi its us again we survived our last smoke and it was a great experience. we are having another big smoke on friday its called 'THE FIGHTER-BONG CHAMPIONSHIPS 2003". This will be our 1st annual. It is going to be held in barneys barn of bonging bastards buming in his bonging barn TM. This will be a great experience. Occupents=18 will be taking part in this great bonging competition they are:
Barney
Craig (ME)
Mr Pie
Mr T
17
Sexy KEV
Hewio
Evil Ct Caveman
E!
Soap daddy
CM 4 MEN
Dixon
Hippo
Newt
Marto
Guinea
little bob
We shall tell you how it went next time we meet you. From your devoted fans Rasta man (Barney and Craig)
P.S. I was also pretty wrecked when I wrote this. iam still stoned from the last smoke I went on. We hope we have plessured you in reading this so have a nice day and PEACE!!!

Our recent fighter bong championship was persponed till next week tell you about it another time.PEACE

we hate u falice u bat!
Go have a huge 10 hitter cone like we just had then see if u can stand up to us.
have a nice day
traaaaaaaa
PEACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sorry falice for the remark that we just gratfully gave to u. but we thought u nicked my ounce of skunk i bought this weekend.
SORRY
Luv u loads hope to smoke wiv u!!!
PEACE

hey there our fighter bong championship did not take place but we still had a great smoke out. We went through aproximatley 2 1/2 ounces of solid and 3 ounces of skunk and grass. we wer all fucked..............PEACE

disgusting crap. everytime i see dreadlocks done by hairbrushing, twist n rip or whatever shit i wanna cry... makes me wanna throw up... ya all people are victims of fake image stuff.
i have been growing my dreads naturally for over 3 years now and i can tell ya: its the best , looks naturally , you do not damage your headskin+ you do not look like all the stupid fucks from magazines that just get dreads for a short time, just to look cool , cause its IN right now. no , fuck that shit, grow your dreads in the way it is supposed to be grown. be yourself , do not be a victim of Cosmopolitan magazine:))) have a nice day , dreadlocks for the rest of my life

I really want my boyfriend to not give up on getting locks. So, I checked this web-page and thought I was great. It gives very interesting info. His hair is curly and sort of long... I want to see more pictures about how exactly you make them!

Thanks, peace

I have had dreadlocks for around 6 months now, and I thoroughly love them. I do have to do some work on them, as naturally my hair is extreamely long, smooth and straight. I think that this article too is amazing. The text is genius and the girls dreads are.. well, they left me in awe. Hopefully, one day soon, I will have those too. I feel that dreads connect you to the Earth more, I do not do it as part of a faceless trend (sorry Blackmagick but we cant all have nappy hair). If anyone has any tips they can give me, I would be very thankfull. I'm also researching how to dye dreads with henna if anyone can help. **P,L,E.x

DONT DO YOUR DREADS LIKE THIS. I have had my dreads for 4 years and i grew my shits naturaly. Lots of people love my dreads,and I have influenced a lot of people to get them from mine. And dreads get the ladies!!!I have had a lot more girls hit on my from them.(theys love to play with them)dread that shit naturaly. If your hair is long just palm roll them a lot and twist, and rub with a beanie and wear a beanie or dreadcap to sleep. And if your hair is short them rub with a beanie and twist and sleep with a dread cap. It takes a hot minute for them to lock up all the way but its all worth it in the end. Beleive Me.
Peace to the East
Fellow Dreadhead
ps Im really high right now lol

mga rasta man kay mga pala iyot... hasta bolbol dreadlock!!!!

Hi i have my dreadlocks for 4yrs i started them at the salon in Pretoria im using the jabu stone products and my hair is too soft and my dreadlocks are breaking i dont know why can you help me what to do

"Hi i have my dreadlocks for 4yrs i started them at the salon...my hair is too soft and my dreadlocks are breaking i dont know why can you help me what to do"
LOL you answered your own question, you had them done at a salon. You probably paid $200 to have your hair ruined! Shoulda done them naturally you fool, just a little backcombing to get 'em started & let them go from there, only using all-natural soap (Dr. Bronner's kicks ass). Oh well you're screwed :)

DREADLOCKS ARE FOR THE PURIST PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THE VALUES AND BASES BEHIND THE DREADLOCK SO IN OTHER WORDS KNOW YOUR HISTORY!!!!!

Deciding to grow locks is very personal; it's a journey to beauty. misconceptions are to be expected as the vast majority of people are agressive when it comes to embracing any thing different, that is in anyway considered to be 'other.'

I started my dreads like 6 years ago. They fall down to the middle of my back. I started them by first not going to the barber shop then once my hair got long enough i had my girlfriend braid my hair into "plats". New growth would come in and I would take my hair loose and replat it until my hair was long enough to put into cornrows. After a couple of months of doing this I got my hair platted and never took the plats loose, anytime i felt new growth I woulld twist my plats. 6 years later my jonts look hard as shit.......and Busta decides to cut his. Oh well. I also used Bees Wax too. Growing dreads takes lots of patience. U will definetley go through an Ugly stage. Dont listen to people that are going to tell u that u should cut your hair. Remember how u felt the first time u saw somebody with dreads. I know i was like "wow that looks dope" "I want some" here is your chance.-

i jsut started my locs 1/21/05, its a beautiful thing! hard to maintain but im coming thru. ppl asked "why u cut ur long beautiful hair". i simply say cuz of life changes. tho the bible siad no to dreads, its the purest form of the hair period. once it was legal toGOD, and always shuld be. but im happy and nappy. everythings knotting pretty fast!

LET ME SAY FIRST THAT IT IS REFRESHING TO SEE THAT THE ASAIN AND CAUCASIAN PERSUATION CAN TAKE A PROFOUND APPRECIATION FOR THE JOURNEY OF THE DREAD...LET ME ENCOURAGE ALL MY PPL TO TAKE A DEEPER LOOK INTO THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE LOOK, THE PATIENCE IT DEMANDS, THE PERSISTANCE IT TAKES, THE TIME IT CONSUMES...I MYSELF AM A D.H. AND WOULD NEVER CUT MY LOCS...EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE ABOUT HALFWAY MY CALVES.
P.S.- EARTHBOUND CHILD, I LIKE YOUR STYLE. WHAT ETHNICITY ARE YOU? NO MATTER WHAT IT IS...KEEP DREADIN'EM UP!!!
!!!!HAIL UP KING SELASSIE!!!!
JAHLIGHT

Hi, I started my locks nine (9) yrs ago, and its beautiful. never been to a salon and my friends are so amazed, it about 15 inches or more long.They say I have a lot of patients to deal with it. KNOW WHAT I SAY? hey, it's for me so i gotta deal with it cuz i want it to look great all the time and besides i don't think anyone can maintain it better than i can. I get a lot of comments on it from a lot of other races as well. I vowed never to go back to chemicals. My hubby loves it it never likes me to style it, he loves to see it flowing :-)Once when i just started a friend said to be " i cant dress up with dreadlocks" Well, if she only knew what she had coming she wouldn't have said that :-) When I model go to weddings and other functions people who don't know me never believe it dreadlocks. I'll say it's the best thing that could have ever happen to my hair and YOU KNOW WHAT? I love it.I have a few pics on http://trinnibeauty.hi5.com. Check them out if u wish. ONE

Hello Ms.Falice Chinn,

First let me say this, thank you for giving your opinions on dreadlocks a good try.

Then let me said this, for one I am an African American female with kinky hair not nappy hair. What that means is that my hair is curly wavey with a kinkiness to it - not nappy.

Having grown up as an African American all of my life, the term nappy means kinky hair that has not been combed, okay?

Your definition would lead people to believe that Africans have nappy hair no matter what. That's not the case. That's one.

Two, you talk about going to the salon to make dreadlocks, but what you're really talking about are locks not dreadlocks. Locks are maintained at the salon by having them twisted every so often. Dreadlocks are not.

Dreadlocks are started by separating the hair, that's basically it - you let it dread and knot on it's own - There is no maintaining the hair at the salon.

Most people let their dreadlocks fall where they fall and grow in whatever direction it grows in. The only thing they do to it is wash it.

So when you talk about dreadlocks perhaps you need to get the facts from people who know, and not from what you think. Because it's just as you said -
it's a cultural thing, particularly the culture of people of African decent. All the rest are just following our lead. But Thank You for your opinions any way. It was a good try.

Peace
Halimah

P.S By the way I am currently sporting LOCKS - NOT DREADLOCKS.

hey,
i really like your article, it's straight to the point :) I've had my dreads for only a couple of months, I'm having trouble with the roots as they are not staying locked as my hair grows, but I find it very painfull and awkward to knot hair in at the root when it is already knotted slightly further up from the scalp, any advice??

Hi there. I have had my dreads for the last 13 years and they are definitely a big part of me. i dont believe that you have to be a certain religion to wear them. i believe if people are called to sport the antennaes of reality, then they will find it to be a humbling and grounding experience if they stick with it long enuf. thats just my personal view. I am having some issues with mine, though. I cut my dreads short a few years ago (much to my regret!) and as theyve started growing long again this time they are breaking off at a frightening pace. I am now down to 12 long dreads out of 30+?!?!?! i have tried moisturizing with coconut oil and that helps for a minute but they still break off - just a little softer when they do. is it cuz i have pencil thin dreads to start with? ive had some this thin before but this is alarming! what can i do?!?!?!

Halimah: Because it's just as you said -
it's a cultural thing, particularly the culture of people of African decent. All the rest are just following our lead.

~~~

Actually, I believe dreadlocks originated in India with the Sadu, and later adopted by the Rastas.

I have been growing my locks for about 6 yeas now. When I started, my hair was about shoulder length, now it is down to my butt. I guess they would constitute as mature dreads. Specially since I am 46.
I moved to small town USA from Toronto 3 years ago and let me tell you, people here are totally clueless about dreads. I have had many occasions where someone just would walk up to me and touch/grab my hair asking how do I do that and stuff. (very annoying and ignorant)
Anyways, just wanted to share.
"Peace, Love and Nappines"

I am an asian girl with some dreadlocks.. dying to be a full head dreads but have to hold back cause of my profession and i'm in a new company.

i know i know, you might sneer but its the love of dreadlocks that counts, right?

just wait a lil more until i settle in..

In Asian countries its not much of a fashion when people keep thinking you're no good girl, acting out, and never wash your hair).

They are not fashion, they are a statement of my individuality, they are my own. I do feel more bound to earth since i had them.. cant explain.. feel closer to myself..

need to be closer... need... fullheadd.. hahahaha cheers and goodluck everyone.

hey yall

im a Student at VC pretoria and wud like to twist my dreadlocks. Actually i would like to change to rastafarianism, the culture, the religion, the way of life. HELP! i would also like to meet other rastas coz i dont know anybody who is rastafari. Plz reply to me asap.

Actually dreadlocks predate America
and Europe's slavery of the African. It is known that certain African tribes wore dreads down to their feet. They were cut off in the early days of slavery (before the captured were uploaded onto ships) because their white captures felt they made their appearance too ferocious and powerful. Cutting their dreads was a way of de-manning them and it worked because these cultures felt that their strength and beauty was in their dreads and were quite proud of them. This bit of history is hard to find in American history books but there ARE books about captured slaves, their captors, and overseers' dislike of dreads, etc... where this knowledge is shared among the white slaverunners. Also early white visitors to Africa noted certain tribe's penchant for growing their hair in long ropes or snake-like appendages. You need to go to the library of Congress to find these documented books/letters which can now be sent to your local library. Don't accept anyone's word; research!

I really like your essay. I have dreads and I know how it is. I have had mine for a year and a half you would not believe how many people grab at my hair everyday, and dirty looks are common. Your method of making dreads is good but it makes hair really short. Another more successful way is take each strand split it in two and gnat them together. it takes a long time but you don't lose that many inches. If your cool like me just don't brush your hair, and it will go on its own.