Grow your dreadlocks
Don’t be afraid of the wolf pack
Keep your culture
Don’t be afraid of the vulture
A good friend of mine’s recently told me about an interesting experience that he had. He works for a large corporation and the members of his team are scattered all over the United States. The entire team had a meeting in Texas at the beginning of the year in order to go over the company’s direction for the year and get everyone on the same page. In order to save money, the team members were encouraged to take the hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel they were staying in lieu of renting a car.
My friend started growing dreads less than a year ago, so his dreads are still in training. He often wears a stocking cap or a skull cap to keep his dreads neat and clean. So obviously when he flew into Texas he had on his skull cap knowing that in the morning his hair needed to be properly groomed for his team meeting. As he got into the shuttle it was only he and one more passenger, a Black lady. My friend is also Black. He had no idea who the lady was at the time. However, at the meeting the next morning he saw the lady and figured out she was not only a part of the team but someone with whom he had many prior phone conversations. The lady approached him and asked, “wasn’t that you on the shuttle last night?” After he told her yes, she then said, “I would have never guessed that you work here, when I see guys like you coming down the street, I usually cross over to the other side.”
My friend said he felt taken aback by her statement but laughed it off anyway. As I thought about his story, I remember watching ESPN and the analysts were discussing the troubles of Pac-Man Jones, one of the analysts, also a black man blurted out, “at least he cut his dreads, so he is moving in the right direction.” Really? Of all the trouble that football players have gotten into, Pac-Man Jones is probably the only one with dreads, so obviously it is not the dreads that is the problem.
After all these years, I can’t believe there is still this negative stigma associated with dreads. Now, not every dread is a Rasta and not every Rasta is a dread. Regardless of whether a person wears dread for spiritual reasons or just their hairstyle of choice, in 2015, no one should have negative stereotypes towards dreads.