Black hair as a symbol of Black culture has come a very long way. It has served as a way to show people’s identity, social status and tribe in early African civilizations. It was also a tool for the emancipation of slaves in America. From locs to cornrows and Afros, Black hair is beautiful, resilient and the crown we never take off. Let’s get to it!


Dreadlocks,dreads, locks, locs or whatever name you choose to call it is a hairstyling process where the hair is twisted or coiled into itself and forming individual strands.  There are different variations of this style from traditional locks, sister to brotherlocks.

The reason why the preferred name for dreadlocks is locs is because it has garnered negative connotations. Locs are anything but dreadful, they are bold, beautiful and regal. Dreadlocks have always been a statement hairstyle. It can be a very spiritual hairstyle for some and for others it can be a political hairstyle. 

Nobody really knows where locs originated from but we can trace them as far back as 2500BCE. A lot of indigenous civilisations from Africa to Australia have historically worn their hair in a locked style. The style became more mainstream in mordern culture in the 70s as a  result of the rastafari movement and its Jamaican roots. From then till now, dreadlocks have been a trendy hairstyle option.


Cornrows have existed as a symbol and identity ever since they were created. The roots of this hairstyle can be dated as far back as 3000 bc along the horn and west of Africa. During this time, the pattern of  braids you had on said a lot about your identity, social status, religion and more.

As time went on, cornrows took on another meaning. In colonial America and South America, enslaved Africans wore cornrows (also known as canerows) as a map to freedom. The intricate patterns plaited on their heads served as a communication code, a means of escape. Sensitive details such as the meeting times and escape routes were mapped out on their hair. 

Now, cornrows are worn as a protective style. This is not without opposition. Despite the rich and heavy history that this hairstyle holds, it has been appropriated time and time again by ‘unsuspecting’ people who are unaware of Black culture with the defense that “it’s just hair”. Hairstyles like cornrows are steeped in Black culture and Identity and its history can never be unwoven from the past.


The Afro is a symbol of pride amongst Black people. It is a push against Eurocentric beauty standards. The cultural richness and aesthetic of the afro was suppressed for a while as a result of white supremacy and the acceptance of Eurocentric beauty as the standard of beauty. Straightened hair  was the narrative until the 70s where Afros became a political statement. The tag line then was that ‘Black is beautiful’. This was met with a lot of resistance (read more here). Now, with small steps towards advancements like the CROWN act being passed, the afro stands as a bold and edgy hairstyle.

Black hair has come a long way. It has smashed several negative connotations on its way to mainstream glory. The world has noticed that Black hair is Black history  and we love to see it!