2010
03.08

Can anyone grow dreadlocks or just Black people? Black people’s kinky hair leads many to believe they are the only race that grows dreadlocks. Therefore, it’s a part of Black culture. But everywhere in the world, you can find people with all types of dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks are the natural result of three to six months uncombed hair. Strains of hair intertwine together and create “ropes” or “locs”. All types of hair eventually clunk or matte together if left free of combs and hair relaxers for a long time. The texture of the hair determines how long it takes.

Thick coarse hair develops or grows dreadlocks fast, easy, and may not need chemicals or twisting. Thin straight hair will take longer. Also, it requires chemicals and twisting. Most Blacks’ hair is coarse while other races have straight hair. In the end, however, both types of hair will start growing dreadlocks. Dreadlocks are a gift from nature. No race is responsible or can claim dreadlocks as their own.

It really doesn’t matter where dreadlocks come from. It’s something natural that can happen to all hair. The question, however, is who’s going to accept dreadlocks into their culture. So far, the answer has been a resounding yes from the Black communities across the nation and world.

For many Blacks, dreadlocks are a symbol of pride and cultural identity. Some are going natural because most hairstyles need the use of hair relaxing chemicals which may cause harm to hair and scalp. Dreadlocks are much simple to maintain: just wash and go.

Bob Marley sings of the “Buffalo Soldier” as dreadlock Rasta. These black soldiers where sent to protect American settlers from Indians after the Civil War.” The Indians called the soldiers “Buffalo Soldiers” because their dreadlocks resembled curly hair of the buffalo.

The Buffalo Soldiers are examples of how dreadlocks have been much a part of Black history and culture right here in America. In fact, historians have described how shackled slaves grew dreadlocks during the three to six month ride from Africa to America. The slave trader or master cut them off because they considered them “dreadful” to look at and forbade the slaves to grow them back.

Whether for spiritual reasons, personal motivation, or a fashion statement, Black people have been growing dreadlocks longer than most cultures. Today, the popularity of dreadlocks is on the rise not only for Blacks, but for many in other races.

As stated before, anyone can grow dreadlocks with patience and the right technique. It doesn’t matter the color of skin or which part of the world you live in. Again, the hair’s texture is what matters most. To find out what you need to grow dreadlocks, visit a hairstylist specializing in dreadlocks (locticians).

Here’s a rule of thumb with much wiggle room. If you are of African descent with thick hair, growing dreadlocks should be natural, easy, and fast with few visits to a loctician. If you are not of African descent and have straight thin hair, it will take longer. You’ll need more frequent visits to a loctician and the use of chemicals such as beeswax.

Dreadlocks are a big part of Black culture. However, they can be experience and enjoyed by every race in the world. As Bob Maley says “Grow your dreadlocks, don’t be afraid of the wolf pack”.

Copyright (c) 2008 Jeffery Bradley

Author: Jeffery Bradley
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

40 comments so far

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  1. I’m white and have very thin blonde hair and my locs don’t require chemicals or any twisting. Hair is a personal choice and no style belongs to any group of people. My hair, my choice. :)

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  2. uhhhhnmmmmm wow wait. i dont know if this known but im Nigerian and there are children who are born with dreads, like their hair grows out of their scalps loced. Their first strands of hair is literally honestly dreads. Do dreads if you want, its your hair but it really is african hair. Also its not due to neglect or lack of combing *insert eyeroll* trust me their parents wish they could “comb” it out. These kids hair just come loced……………..naturally. You can cut it off and the new hair may just come out coily or you can leave it and the kids just keep growing dreadlocks instead of an afro. Again wow i cannot believe people dont know this.

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    • Yeah well i’m white and mine grows naturally into tube lube shaped locks that dread. if i ever comb it to make it fit the racial stereotype you are trying to force on me it is basically destroyed and becomes a giant unmanageable tangle. Dreads are a curly hair thing, not a an african thing.

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  3. its weird how the Hindu “sadhus” have been getting dreadlocks and smoking pot for centuries and the word ganja also comes from Sanskrit.

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  4. READS ARE IN WEST ASIA and look at the Nazarite vow here is some of the vow

    All the days of his separation he shall not eat anything that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin. 5All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long. 6’All the days of his separation to the LORD he shall not go near to a dead person.…

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  5. I LOVE JESUS &&I LOVE MY LOCS!!!!!!!

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  6. In our Papua New Guinean (South Pacific) culture growing dreadlocks signified a recent death in the immediate family. After 2/3 yrs or so a feast would be made in the village and then the “dreads” would be cut to enable new growth.

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  7. I’d like to know why people are always fighting to claim things. We are all given ONE life. Live it how you wish as long as no harm is done to anyone else. When we all pass away, our spirits wont care who started what on Earth.

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  8. If dreadlocks started with Blacks it’s only b/c we’re the first people on face of the earth, there weren’t any combs back then. Then other races came about (from blacks), but still no comb so naturally they had dreads to. Anyone that has been enslaved had dreads, again no comb. Dreads took on a meaning of strength when GOD told Samson not to cut his. Also, those that carried the Ark of the Covenant. AND finally JESUS to didn’t cut his hair so it locked. It means that u r not a materialistic person, in the world, not of the world. Now to most it’s just the thing that’s in right now. Prince Malik Emanuel.

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  9. Dread locks are the property of the children of Africa! The only problem with “Black logic” is that every human being is decended from the african. I understand that Dreads are a reaction to the plague of oppression but i hardly think that those whites ,hispanics, or asians who desire to or do grow dreads want to oppress us or hold us down.

    Hating to say this but dreads has a stigma upon them. they are still not well accepted by the meanstream. if we as “black people” put down and insult those amongst other races who identify most with our culture and struggle, how would we expect the world to identify with our various causes and cultural differances. Dreadlocks are a Human commonality we should embrace. it is one of the things that unite us as a race… the human race!

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  10. I’m sorry, but the fact that you said dreadlocks can’t be claimed by any one race is a flat out lie. Dreadlocks can be traced back to Africa and East Africa. Any one can search dreadlocks and find this out. That’s why it works best with African hair. Please give credit where it’s due.

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  11. I’m a white woman, and I’ve had dreadlocks for a year or so now. I love them. :) I don’t see them as something that HAS to be culturally specific. I do it because it’s earthy, it’s natural. In most every culture, hair will lock up, it is just easier and quick to lock up for black people. I also have stretched ears, too.
    I do agree that white people have seem to lost their culture- that we did once have… and I’m trying to regain it. I have integrated myself into many different types of cultures, and I feel happy with it. I love the way white peoples hair looks locked up, and the way black people with dreads look. I love to celebrate CULTURE in general. I see myself as combining them and unifying them. <3
    I see here a lot of people say OUR as one color… can't we be just ONE together? :)

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  12. It’s not just we from the motherland that rock locs. Lots of cultures had locs indiginously, including the white fellas. Stop being racial, your hate hurts you, everyone has the right to follow their own path.

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  13. white people can not make dread locks look good it does not matter how attractive or gangster you are. sort it out peeps.

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    • i agree

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  14. Dreads can be wore for all…im black an in going to get dreads soon for fashioable reasons.So anyone who wants dreads go ahead and get em..whites or blacks because you are who u are in your eyes not anybody elses.

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  15. Quite frankly it’s ridiculous for any one race to claim dreadlocks. Dreadlocks existed among the Ancient Egyptians, Celts, Vikings, Germanic tribes and so on.

    Dreadlocks are formed through the neglect of hair – I’m excluding modern methods of making dreadlocks since people from 200bc didn’t have hair gel – so it’s highly likely they were around since the dawn of time, before we had any hair care. Black people have coarser hair than white people, so it’s *easier* for dreadlocks to form, it doesn’t mean the dreadlocks belong *only* to black people. Nobody has been able to identify who the first people were to have dreadlocks and I doubt they ever will, since as I mentioned before, neglecting hair makes dreadlocks, early man didn’t really give a crap, they probably formed on everybody.

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  16. I reckon it is a matter of choice to be honest. A lot of people get their hair platted when there on holiday. I loved dreads as a white guezer and got my brother to do mine when I was younger. It looked crap though he just twirled my hair round with wax.. Stupid me kept it in for years tho thinking it was cool. I used to have to throw out the pillows every month because of the crap it left behind. Anyway be who you want to be dreads for whites or blacks is good in my eyes

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  17. do what you want with your hair, it’s your’s anyway… why wud u care what everyone thinks? 😛 chill, everyone lol

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  18. White people take from other cultres before the dropped hat hits the ground ~The national monument anyone ~and could not care less how this effects the survivors of their atrocities : their culture is to go on expeditions and discover people who already exsist steal the people steal their knowledge and claim it as their own and steal their resources all in the name discovery. Whites should not dreadlock, but i understand why they do.

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  19. @Domingo

    If in case Justin Beiber would do a dreadlocks, who would like to care anyway?

    My blog: American

    Rag Clothing

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  20. As long as Justin Beiber doesn’t try it .. im fine with white people rockin dreads

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  21. Whenever I think of anyone other than Black people wearing dreads, I think of Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows. He’ll always be the shining example of why it (usually) doesn’t look right.

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  22. To the author, where did you get the info about the Buffalo Soldiers have locks? I’m interest in seeing pics and the information. The photo I found doesn’t display locks on the soliders (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Buffalo_soldiers1.jpg).

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  23. Black people’sskin was made for the sun , therefore we shouln’t run away from the sun.Hollering about we’re going to get darker.Because the darker you are the more power you have.Black people’s hair gives the more connection and contact with their ancestors.We have a great spiritual connection to God,ancestors,astroplains and everyone.Our grows in a spiral like the solar system.We were created from the dark matter in space sometimes called the cosmic soup or black matter.Everyone in the world was created from us (science backs this fact up).It makes since that every other race came from us also because you get every color from the color black.We’re called the Moors.Thats why love my people soooooooooooooo much.

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  24. Dreadlocks are for MOORS(BLACK PEOPLE) around the world.It started with Jamaicans and Africans joining together in a group and faith called Rastafarian.Dreadlocks are also called Ras or Rasta.OVERALL IT BELONGS TO THE MOORS AND NO ONE ELSE!!!!
    It was meant for OUR hair types.

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  25. Eh, dreads started in Africa where many tribes of old like the Himba and Maasai used to and stukk wear them. Rastafarians like Bob Marley simply popularised what was already in existence. They didn’t invent it. I think white folks can look good with them. It all depends on how neat the dreads are and the personality of the person.

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  26. Nice post. Last Month I found this site and wanted to let you know that I have been gratified, going through your site’s posts. I shall be signing up to your RSS feed and shall wait for your next post. Have a good day, Carol

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  27. i wonder about the white man and what it means to him, since each is his own man who is to truly say why or for what. but i do like the fact that no one culture race or creed can lay clam to dreads only way to do that is to grow some.

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  28. only problem i have with eric’s comment is his assumption that Sampson was white. Jesus to huh buddy?
    our hair is dryer and it “tangles” more. Read something about our hair evolving to be like that b/c that type of hair protects a bit more from the constant uv rays’ pouring down from sunlight in africa. Also read something about how the hair acts like a sponge (why black woman run from rain). Our hair coils up when hit with water and tries to retain it for as long as possible…cuz again it would keep you cooler. the marvels of natural selection. i will never had my naps

    oh skin as well. few animals have black skin, but b/c we are fur-less creatures with very thin body hair, natural selection chose those with darker skin b/c they could deal with the harsh uv rays a bit more…this doesn’t mean we’re immune to damage by the sun

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  29. The original method to attain them was neglect…and probably not intentional. They’ve been apart of different cultures throughout human history. Other ethnicities can attain dreads naturally/though neglect as well like the Sadhus and Sadhvis of India.
    BUT most of us don’t attain dreads naturally or through neglect b/c we prefer that they appear neat, uniform in size and just well taken care of. Black hair has the advantage in attaining that look b/c it locks the fastest and requires very little product. Hair gel is all that needed if starting with comb coils. Nothing at all is needed if starting with “braid locs”. Other ethnicities have to have to use wax and backbrushing to obtain the salon like look.
    sincerely,
    DC dreadhead parents from the motherland

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  30. Dreads actually originated in a group of ancient Mesopotamian tribes.

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  31. I do believe that Black Africans where the first to have locks, and because blacks were all over the world I believe that they were adopted by many other cultures as well. I have locks and am very proud of them as I am my African ancestor’s history, which both have been very much down played, and attempted to be erased from history.

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  32. I think they looked good on Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and maybe one or two white people since then. Beyond that..no, sorry…IMHO they look horrible.

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  33. dreads are meant for black people and only black people.. but white people can attain them if willing to ignore that key fact

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    • Really? What about the Sadhus and Sadhvis of India? google image search “Sadhus” and them come back and tell me they are only for black people.

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  34. Dreads started with black people in Africa and then spread throughout the world. IT IS A BLACK HAIRSTLY AND BLACK PEOPLE’S HAIR IS THE ONLY HAIR TYPE THAT LOCS NATURALLY!!!!!!! The key word is NATURALLY. White people always have to neutralize black culture to make it ok for everyone to steal. It’s ridiculous to say that locs don’t belongto black people. So many lies are being told and history is being distorted. Black peoples hair literally locs together because we have coily hair and the strands rap around each other. Only black peole can have true locs; our unique hair texture allows this. If there is a 360 degree difference in the texture of black people’s hair and other races, how in the hell can it have the same nature? In other words, no one else hair locs naturally, ONLY BLACK PEOPLE!!!!! whites and others manipulate their hair to attempt to add texture to it and still, once the “locs” are formes, the hair that grows out does not continue to “loc”. Black people hair continues to loc because, again, it locs naturally. STOP LYING AND STEALING BLACK CULTURE!!!!!!!

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    • I am white & have extremely thin hair that locked up naturally to the point where I couldn’t keep it out of dreads unless I showered & conditioned twice daily. What was I supposed to do?

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      • I’m black and don’t have that problem so I’m guessing you could have cut your hair.

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  35. No, it’s not just for white people. I’m white, and I’m currently in the process of growing them. It’s just simpler for black people to grow them because their hair is naturally dry and it tangles easily.
    I’m not Christian, but Samson from the Bible had long dreads.
    Also, look at all the musician who have dreadlocks. It’s for anyone who has the patience and isn’t afraid to look a little dumb for a few months. Haha. :]

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