The Dreadlocks Hairstyle (Jamaica)




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Jamaican Culture

The Dreadlocks Hairstyle

Published May 22, 2003

Dreadlocks And True Rastafarian
A discussion on the popular "dreadlooks" hairstyle cannot begin without highlighting that probably 90% of the 'dread locked individuals' you may meet in Jamaica who may call themselves a Rastafarian, are not true Rastafarians. The mysticism, ability to use ganja under the religious justification defense and all the monetary benefits one may get from this has caused this to become a 'fad' and many Jamaican men wore dreadlocks and called themselves Rastafarians when they are not. The "rent a dread" stereotype is true in many cases. Many men see Rastafari as a way out of poverty or a means to migrate to a country with better opportunities. Stereotyping has caused everyone with dreadlocks to be viewed as a Rastafarian. A true Rastafarian is peace loving, kind, very Afro centric and shuns all "schemes" used for monetary gains.

History of Dreadlocks
Dreadlocks are not unique to Jamaica and Rastafarians. The dreadlocks hairstyle originated in Africa and was worn by various tribes there. The earliest tribe this hairstyle can be attributed to is the Masai tribesmen of Kenya. Many of the warriors of this tribe wore this hairstyle. These men sometimes dyed their hair red with root extracts.

Dreadlocks in Jamaica
The dreadlocks hairstyle first appeared in Jamaica during post emancipation. It was a means of defiance for ex-slaves to rebel against Euro-centrism that was forced on them. The hairstyle was originally referred to as a "dreadful" hairstyle by the Euro centric Jamaican society. It later evolved to the term now used: Dreadlocks. Jamaicans also use the term Natty Dreadlock.

Dreadlocks and Rastafari
Rastafarians grow their hair into dreadlocks because it is a part of the Nazarite Vow. (Also their dietary rules are part of the law) All Rastafarians take this vow and claim it is commanded by the Bible (Leviticus 21:5 "They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard nor make any cuttings in their flesh").

Samson is believed to be a Nazarite with dreadlocks. Many Rastafarians believe that like Samson, their hair is their strength and also their weakness if it is cut off . The belief in the weakness of cutting of the dreadklocks was used as a way to intimidate Rastafarians in Jamaica in the past, as they would be arrested and their hair cut off. This was one of the reasons many of the early Rastafarians moved to isolated areas (bush) of the Island.

To many Rastafarians, dreadlocks also symbolizes the mane (locks) of the lion in the Lion of Judah, which is one of titles given to all Ethiopian Kings. Emperor Haile Selassie was also very fond of lions and had them as pets around his palace. The lion is also seen as an animal that is gentle but powerful when provoked. He is the "King" of the jungle.

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7 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Aug 24, 2010 1:37pm [ 1 ]

My name is THe Durganator and I want to learn more about Dreads and Dreadlocks because I been grow my dreads for 9 months and some people told me I dont have to use chemical to put in my head and I like the Dreadlock Jamaican Mango And Lime Tingle Shampoo its been helping and cleaning my hair and lockingmy hair.

akema mcintosh
Aug 25, 2010 6:43pm [ 2 ]

it ok!

Sep 5, 2010 6:31pm [ 3 ]


Oct 2, 2010 8:05pm [ 4 ]

Very informative.....good stuff....

cressensia reid
Oct 14, 2010 8:21pm [ 5 ]

very good jolly good show

Feb 12, 2011 12:48pm [ 6 ]

@ Durganator. I'm wondering that too. i wanna cleanse my hair without chemicals, using natural stuff. i realli wanna. dont wann BUYYYYY a shampoo. tell me how u making it thru

dread removal techs
Jun 25, 2011 4:27pm [ 7 ]

Now that people can transition with dreadlocks to natural hair styles-is that really an insult to Jamaican culture? Because really the hair is still natural, its just unlocked-but open to receive.

There is a natural product called Take Down Removal Cream that safely removes and detangles dreadlocks. It protects,moisturizes and softens the natural hair and it does not change the texture of the hair at all.

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