Are locs getting more of a bad rap?

prisonstripes smallHip hop has its stars that sport locs. Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, are just some of the rappers who wear locs as a part of their image.

Athletes, businessmen and women, entertainers, and socially-conscious cultural icons have been wearing locs more than ever.

But I see a troubling trend in our culture. Criminals are wearing locs, too.

Look at news reports recently, and an increasing number of mug shots show suspects for murders, thefts, and a host of other crimes who not only wear locs, but are unfortunately cultivating another meaning of “dread”. It creates social profiling—meaning the belief that the next black male one sees walking down the street—that fits a certain look—will be the next perpetrator of a crime. Mug shots of criminals with locs in the news (and the sites that collect them) do nothing more than help perpetrate this profile that locs do invoke dread. Not just the poor image aesthetic of the past, but a more menacing one.

We’ve seen where social profiling has gotten some of our youth. The Trayvon Martin case is just one example. It is unfortunate that in our society today, one is judged by not just the color of their skin, but by the way they carry themselves. Others will still cross the street and still clutch their purses even closer no matter what the facts. Even if the person wearing the locs or the hoodie may be a straight “A” student or a positive role model.

We should be free to wear our hair to express ourselves. We should also look to our own sisters and brothers not to bring our own images down. The key word is “should”. The content of one character really shows when one faces the viewer with a bar of numbers below one’s face.

Until character is reflected more truly, our society will continue to stereotype locs— and the people who wear them.

I hope that our youth wakes up to this fact soon. The very freedoms that we enjoy today—expressing ourselves with our hair—could be held back for all of us. The very mug shot one sees in the news could be the last thing a potential boss sees at night. He, she, or someone who is in a position of power to make a choice about one’s image may have drawn their own conclusions.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

P.S. Don’t forget to get volumes 1 and 2 of the printed editions at

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