"Palm rolls, two-strand twists, shea butter, coconut oil, and hours under the dryer... anyone with locs knows they take time and care. I spend nearly three hours each time I sit down to retwist my hair. They’re a conscious choice, and one that has weight—physical and political.
A quick primer: Locs have been around for thousands of years, but they went mainstream in the ’70s when Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, both followers of Rastafarianism, wore them as a symbol of devotion. Later, in the ’80s, the painter Jean- Michel Basquiat had them. In the ’90s, musicians like Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Busta Rhymes all made the style an integral part of their look. To many creatives, locs are more than a hairstyle—they are a symbol of black expression.
Still, locs aren’t always perceived positively. Despite current hashtag campaigns like #BlackGirlMagic, which echoes the “Black Is Beautiful” movement of the ’60s, locs are viewed as unkempt by some. Last year, a federal court sided with an employer who rescinded a job offer due to an applicant’s “messy” locs. And it wasn’t until this year that the U.S. Army let women wear them. These moments, though difficult, do not deter me from wearing my own locs proudly. Each inch is a measure of time and a constant reminder of a black life lived." - @museummammy