Your Locks are a Powerful Tool for Social Change. Here’s Why…

Your Locks are a Powerful Tool for Social Change. Here’s Why…
04 Sep 2015

“This is what compels me to push black people. To identify with black culture: giving out to them that Black-Ness; that Black-Power.”
—Nina Simone
I spend so much time marketing myself as a diversified natural hair care stylist that I tend to shy away from my true passion… Locks. In my quest to ensure that I offer comprehensive natural hair services, I realize that I am apologizing for lock culture. Prospective clients visit me and strongly declare, “I don’t want to lock my hair.”

My knee jerk reaction statement is…I only want to provide services that are based on your desires. I am not interested in selling you on locking your hair. After hundreds of consultations, I realize that my carefully crafted conversations are diluting from my greatest natural hair passion. Imagine that, I have 20 inches of locked hair! (Crazy right?)

With each client, I study their locks: how they grow, why they don’t grow and evaluate hair types and patterns to create an ideal sized lock based on texture. Constantly, I take classes to learn the latest techniques and canvas social media to understand and anticipate a future client’s needs. For more than 10 years, I nurtured my natural hair passion. I enjoy sharing my inspiration, my knowledge and guiding people along their personal natural hair journey.

With this post, my intention is to remove my self-inflicted-locked-hair-avoiding-glass-ceiling conversation. Today, I assertively proclaim: I live and breathe locks! My locks are a constant reminder to stay true to my spirit, my personality and to feel empowered with the gifts the Creator has granted to me advance my life mission. My conviction is honored by my steady growing natural hair care knowledge and blossoming hair stylist career.

Now that locks have become so popular, the face of locks has changed. There was a time when people associated locks with Afrocentric or spiritual individuals. But, today is a new day; each new day brings an opportunity for evolved thought processes. During consultations, I’ve met clients who’ve mentioned that the media has cultivated a negative perception of lock wearers. Clients further explain, only thugs and gangbangers are wearing locks. They go on to proclaim….I don’t want to be a part of that. And, I don’t argue with their conclusions. I witness the mugshots on the nightly news.

Given the changing perceptions of locked hair, the new school phrase, “I am not my hair” bothers me. The five simple words encourage people to overlook the symbolism involved with natural hair in the name of diversity; just like my consultations. Yes, we groom our hair to make ourselves more attractive. However to say, I am not my hair is a naïve statement. I counter back: your hair is a reflection of you! My goal is not to badger Bold & Fearless magazine readers. Rather, I want to encourage you to wear your hair with cultural pride.

Whether you recognize it or not, your hair is an outer reflection of you. By adorning your hair, you are commanding respect. Recognize the cultural pride, regal power and energy involved in your natural hair. I strongly believe that we must create the world we want to live in; just as we must create the person we want to be. I want to live in a world that has culture and beauty around me. My world will reflect the beauty that I want to see. My vision for beauty extends beyond the mirror and outside my front door. It extends to my neighborhood too.

It’s up to our generation to perpetuate positive cultural norms that impact our community. Don’t let the media change our perceptions of beauty. Octavia’s Natural Hair Care Experience is a hub that is instrumental for advancing cultural and community social change. In unity, we must a build a new cultural norm that attracts and resonates the feeling of prosperity and rejects images fed by the nightly news. Together, we must build and invite communities to accept diversified perceptions of beauty and reject negative stereotypes wrongly associated with culturally relevant hairstyles.


Hair is your canvas,

Creates passion and announces strength.

Don’t take it lightly



How have you used your culture to impact social change?


Photo of the author.

Octavia Hooks

Octavia Hooks is a contributing writer who loves promoting Natural hair care! She is the founder of Octavia’s Natural Hair Care Experience. Hooks is a licensed Barber, Certified Lock stylist with over 10 years of experience in caring for and maintain natural hair. In addition, Hooks is a certified LEED Green Associate and has a Master’s degree specializing in the management of non-profit and government organizations. For more information on Octavia, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *