In Nigerian society, a lady who has decided to lock her hair to solve the worry of constantly weaving it is designated as "shaggy and harebrained". A man whose livelihood depends on dubbing people's hair and locking his hair has been profiled as a criminal who gets locked behind bars with no concrete offense.
The above claim comes in as a result of people's perception of people who carry
dreads. These beliefs are enveloped by myths, either natural or artificial to the end that some cultures such as the Yoruba and Igbo view it as an abomination.
The Yoruba cosmic view of dreadlock is that it is a tousled style to depict mysterious and dark powers to be eschewed. "Dada" as the Yorubas refer to people born with dreadlocks is a child feared more than respected, and several consultations are made to determine if the dreadlocks should be cut off or not.
The Igbo society calls a child born with dreadlocks "Ogbange". Their worldview is that '' Ogbange" is the reincarnation of some great men and women, jujuists, and deities. This makes them live in isolation as their parents separate them from other children. They are called possessed beings and the stigmatization, of course,
affects the child's psychology and self-perception.
There are a couple of questions to ask but a few that stand out are based on why a person born with dreads be treated forbidden or an adult who decides to explore the trend be made to feel odd in the society.
Another standpoint to explore deadlock stigmatization from is the biased opinion of people based on societal status. A closer look at people's perception of deadlock shows that the lower class suffers the bias the most.
A rich man in dreads is perceived as stylish and in vogue while the middle-class man is labeled a criminal and a person of low standards. Beauty, they say, is in the eyes of the beholder. However, it is safe to say that societal status often influences the conclusion of the beholder.
The mentality of most people is that the elite is affluent enough to spend money on themselves and can take care of their dreadlocks which makes them different from the lowly.
A glimpse into the entertainment world has it that music artists who have natural dreadlocks and even artificial ones are seldom questioned by people, the reason being that they are celebrities and famous hence, these myths and beliefs hardly apply to them.
In conclusion, people must understand and accept the fact that dreadlocks, whether natural or artificial, aren't weapons or any form of mysterious thing that can cause harm.
The earlier we accept this truth, the earlier we can coexist peacefully and unite towards other important societal touchpoints and progress as a nation.
Abimbola Oluwapelumi Adedotun