Do a Good Thing

Look closely. The model in this layout from the 2011 IKEA catalog has locs.

An Open Letter to Magazine Editors, Advertising Executives, Fashion Editors and Those Who Choose Model Talent for Media:

This letter is in response to a reader of our magazine who wanted let you know how she felt about the dearth of models and positive images of those with loc’d hair. Simply put: Locs have arrived, they’ve been around since the beginning of time, and they are here to stay. And especially now, they’re as popular as ever.

As editors and advertising executives who choose model talent for layouts or ads, you should consider hiring models with loc’d hair—male or female.

Why? First, it truly reflects a large cross-section of African Americans. A recent statistic shows that more than 23% of African Americans wear their hair in a natural style. That’s nearly one in three African Americans. And that percentage is growing. You have embraced our texture. (We noticed that when African American women are depicted in ads or other media, they mostly have a curly style.) Now it’s time to reflect the many ways that African Americans can wear their hair naturally, including locs. Men, women and children have chosen this style.

Second, forget the stereotypes. Locs can be clean. We do not all do drugs. We are not all vegetarians. We take pride in our locs, and with care, they can look as appropriate in a professional setting as they do in a creative environment. Locs are individual expressions of the people who wear them.

Third, locs are versatile and distinctly individual. For those that hire talent, you are not stuck with just one style. You can wear them up. You can sweep them to the side. You can curl them. You can do a little bit of everything that you can do with a relaxed style. Elaborately styled locs are memorable and turn heads.

In short, you are missing out on not just a trend in African American culture but a way of life for many (African American or Caucasian). And those advertisers and magazines that get it right will win the loyalty of new customers who finally see positive images of themselves reflected. It is your influence that can change the tide.

Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

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