AI’m an 80s baby, I grew up watching and loving Living alone. I know I wasn’t the only one.
I admired every character and saw a part of myself in every character, from enterprising and independent Khadijah and strong and sexy Max to funny and funny Sinclair and feminine and flirty Regine.
Even the male characters captivated me. There was even one scene during a popular episode with a supporting character, Kyle Barker, that I will never forget.
The budding stockbroker—who I always thought was fine—was up for a promotion at work. He was excited, but nervous, at the occasion. After hearing the news, Kyle was told by a black male colleague to cut his locs if he thought he had a chance of getting the new position.
Understandably, Kyle considered the decision, but ultimately decided to let his locs notice that they were part of his identity. He later discovered that his white colleagues never had a problem with his hair. The suggestion came solely from his black colleague and linked more to jealousy than prejudice.
Locs We Love
Fast forward to now, while we’ve made great strides within the black community in accepting ourselves and all the beautiful blended parts of our culture, some would argue that stigma and stereotypes are still attached to lock-hair styles. Especially if it is worn by men.
“Yeah, I definitely don’t think we’re past it,” said FD Signifer, a popular culture expert and YouTuber who wears long locks. “While I personally have not experienced prejudice or discrimination because of my hair, I have feared it on numerous occasions. I thought to myself, ‘should I cut my hair for jobs outside my field,’ as I tried to move from teaching to a more corporate career.”
As a social media influencer, FD Signifer has become known for his candid commentary and overall appearance. And as he hugs his hair, he doesn’t ignore the fact that, as he puts it, his expression “comes at a price.”
“I think what’s really happening” [right now] is that more black men with a certain status, lifestyle or level of success are growing their locs and within those spaces they are accepted,” Shafeeq said. “But they are also safer because they have a status level where you don’t tell them to cut their hair. Who’s going to tell Jay Z to cut his hair? But if Jay Z was in someone’s mailroom, it could be different. I agree that black men embrace their hair and are more expressive, but I also think it’s important to know that that expression comes at a price and not every black man can afford that.”
General issues surrounding black men attracting locos remain such a widespread issue that the topic has made it to Congress. Last March, the US House passed the CROWN Acta bill that aims to protect all black people with natural and protective hairstyles, such as locks, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knotsand Afros, of discrimination.
More specifically, the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair” law will prohibit race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and against those who participate in federal public programs such as affordable housing and health care. The bill now awaits a vote in the US Senate.
Despite lingering perceptions of locs, black men are embracing the natural style and rocking it better than ever. I speak for everyone when I say, “We’re here for it.”
Besides a beard, locs can be one of the most attractive and unique physical traits a black man can have. Be it long locks, short locks, braided buns, ponytails or dyed locks, we love them all.
Living Single’s “Kyle Barker” may have paved the way in the 90s, but other personalities like Omarion, Ty Dolla Sign, and others are proving that their manes can be just as beautiful as ours.
Here are all the states that have successfully passed the CROWN Act
Why is it up to us to remain calm in the face of racism? Black man confronts Dillard employee over racist comments
Famous Black Men With Locs: How Does It Affect Culture?
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