3 Fascinating Lessons I Learned About My Locks in Jamaica
07 Oct 2015
Hey pretty Rasta lady!
Ya’ Mõn, you are a Rasta Princess!
Are you a Rastafarian?
I bet you don’t eat pork.
For more than 15 years, I have been wearing locks. While sporting both natural hair and locks, I’ve received stereotypical comments and questions from multiple perspectives. Given the perm and weave culture, people seem to always want to know your ‘purpose’ for going natural. Alternatively, when you are natural and decide to lock your tresses, you risk becoming pigeonholed into cultural stereotypes too. As for me, folks quickly assume that I am Rastafarian.
My biggest pet peeve is the belief that all lock wearers are Rastafarians. When asked about being a Rastafarian, my first reaction is…don’t judge me.
“Rastafari is a young, Africa-centered religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, following the coronation of Haile Selassie I as King of Ethiopia in 1930. The movement’s greatest concerns are the repatriation of blacks to their homeland, Africa, and the reinstatement of blacks’ position in society. The US Census reports there are approximately one million world wide adherents of Rastafari as a faith.”1
Given that Rastafarian is a spiritual belief, I bow down with respect. I am especially sensitive because I know that being a Rasta is more than just about hair; it’s a way of life. I feel politically correct by dismissing stereotypes and showing respect to the Rastafarians.
And then, I took a trip to Jamaica, the beautiful island that gently reminded me to embrace cultural references by showing me love and changing my hair.
Lesson #1: Embrace cultural love.
During my visit, I was surprised by the Rasta culture respect that I received from Jamaicans. I was warmly greeted with the phrase, “Hello Rasta Princess!” Men held open my door. Women greeted me with respect. My first reaction was, here we go again! I felt embarrassed by the constant Rasta references.
However the longer I stayed on the island, the more I realized, Octavia had it wrong. While receiving these Princess praises, I noticed the references felt different from what I get in the U.S. While climbing the Dunns River in Ochos Rios, I locked eyes with the tour guide. (Not romantically; I promise! LOL!) Rather, the guide appeared to help me with a little more care and respect than the average tourist.
Don’t get me wrong; he was a super friendly and energetic tour guide. Nonetheless, he treated me somewhat differently. He made sure that I was safe and cautious during that water gushing and slippery rock climb. Later, he confirmed my thoughts with his kind words, “Rasta Queen you can climb here. You can do it. Are you okay? Be safe.” So naturally, the more I got called “Rasta,” the more I realized, my hair was a tool that attracted tribal love and cultural respect. I get the same feeling when I work with my clients. Often, I feel we all have kindred spirits.
Lesson #2: The ocean is great for your hair!
When I returned from my trip, a handful of clients reported that my hair looked different. As a locktician, I racked my brain trying to understand what changes they were observing in my hair. When I asked them to further elaborate on their comments, they said my hair appeared “sleeker.” As a locktician, I had to figure out…why?
Then I remembered, I spent some time scuba diving in the deep ocean. (Jumping in the deep sea is no joke. Truly, the ocean is never ending.) However as a locktician, I know the salty sea water is responsible for my sleeker hair appearance. When chatting up locks with fellow lockticians, mixing sea salt and water is a tradesman secret among stylists. Important note: every night, I used clarifying shampoo to ensure no debris was left in my hair.
The sea salt and water blend encourages the locking process; it helps the hair to constrict. So if you are planning to vacation near the majestic ocean, go for a swim. Your hair will love you for it and amplify your beauty.
Lesson #3: The sun is a natural hair vitamin.
Again, my clients pointed out this lesson to me. They said, your hair color is so bright. Did you just refresh your hair color? Of course, I said no. Honestly, I didn’t do one thing. Basically, when I was in Jamaica, I woke up, shook my locks and raced off to start my day. Nevertheless, I must admit; my hair color is on fleek! My color was enhanced and got brighter. In hindsight, I realize that my deep, dark chocolate tan reminded me that I spent a lot of time in the sun. Yes, I got my Vitamin D.
Jamaica was good for my soul, enhanced my hair and refined my cultural edification. My locks tapped into cultural common denominators among people, encouraging camaraderie. My locks encouraged me to accept and appreciate my natural environment.
Jamaica reminded me of Mother Nature’s power, and why I refer to myself as a Green locktician with a vision. Octavia’s Natural Hair Care Experience’s mission is to promote and provide services that stimulate the vitality of naturally textured hair while inspiring change in the community by advocating for a Green lifestyle.
So here is my final message to you…. Get some sun, jump in the ocean and watch how nature takes care of you.
Is there anything you’ve learned during your own natural hair/lock journey which has surprised or delighted you?