Why I Cut Off My Locs After Growing Them For 12 Years

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 7.55.14 AM.png

I decided to loc my hair when I was about age 14. I’d contemplated getting locs for a few years, but never quite made the leap. Luckily, my best friend’s mother had locs and a salon specifically for women with them, which helped make the decision to get them easier because I knew I would have someone to help me care for them and style them. I wanted locs because to me they were the quintessential natural hairstyle. I loved how powerful and beautiful women looked with them, it was almost regal to me. I was inspired by so many beautiful women with locs that I’d seen over the years, such as India Arie, Goapele, etc. Having locs was like a declaration of your blackness and a connection with our heritage.
I was always very conscious of our society's hair standards and stereotypes, so I was proud to be getting a hairstyle that wasn't mainstream and didn't conform to the constraints society has placed on black women. However, once I got locs my interactions based around them played a large factor in shifting how I perceived the parallels between hair and identity. I noticed the way they contributed to how others identified me, I was often seen as “afro-centric” before I even had the chance to verbalize my views. It was also as if once I became natural, I gained a level of access to this exclusive club because of my hair. For example, with men it was interactions such as, "Oh, you're a black queen and all women who wear their hair straight are not." I didn't like that, especially because I would meet women who wore their hair straight who were way more evolved. I found myself in situations where people who were members of this elite club weren't necessarily intersectional, I felt like, "Yes, you know about hair but what about capitalism and patriarchy?" Over time, these types of interactions led to me becoming far less attached to how I correlated hair with blackness.

Video of me cutting my hair.  (Warning: Video contains profanity)

Video of me cutting my hair.
(Warning: Video contains profanity)

I decided to cut my locs about two years ago.  For the most part, I cut them because they were so long that they were starting to get quite heavy and straining my edges, but to be quite honest, I was also just ready for a change. We had a good run, but I was excited to be able to try new looks. I think that over the past few years, I really began to realize that my identity wasn’t rooted in my hair. While it definitely played a significant part in how others perceived me, I recognized that it didn’t dictate my own self-awareness or blackness.
I think that because I had locs for so long, I forgot how versatile hair can be. The styles that I could achieve with locs were limited. Since I cut them, I have had the pleasure of being able to try every style possible. It has been extremely fun trying a range of styles I’ve admired over the years and being able to use hair as a way to express myself.  I’ve been able to wear my natural hair as a wash and go, blowout, and even crotchet braids. Lately, I love box braids because they’re super convenient and give me a vibe reminiscent of my locs.
Letting my locs go was a difficult but liberating choice. I am grateful for the journey that they took me on and the ways they helped contribute to my development of self-awareness, my identity, and how I view hair.
Thank you for letting me share my story,

As told to Rocky Mohammed

As told to Rocky Mohammed

Have your own hair journey that you'd like to share?
We would love to hear about it! Email us at Hello@getcolour.io