I touched his dreadlock, an innocent gesture that was instantly added to my list of things never to do again. His name was Troy Moses, a fire-breathing Jamaican and a recent Brooklyn transplant who lives in Miami Gardens, the core of South Florida’s new Dread Diaspora. “Touching my locks is like touching my dick,” he exclaimed from weathered bands that look like the enchanted, gnarly vines of Bordeaux.
Like most cities throughout the world, Miami’s hair locking trend has cross-cultural appeal. There are the hardcore Dreads who never cut or treat their locs as these sacred, knotted bands represent a spiritual journey devoid of unnatural chemicals (and unsolicited touching). Then there are the Fashion Dreads—folks who enjoy locs as a hairstyle and hire professionals to maintain and treat them.
But all locs share a history that stems from the Jamaican Rastafari movement that emerged in the 1930s as a reaction to the socioeconomic inequities that marginalized the poor. The purpose of locking one’s hair was to provoke dread (or fear) in the onlooker. Overtime, its worldwide appeal has inspired awe and is loosely attributed to socially conscious reggae music and ganja smoking.
“Takes patience and a lot of herb,” said Pablo Suárez, a friend from Argentina, regarding locs he maintains himself by using beeswax and aloe pulp.
In a visual ode to a popular Bob Marley photo, even Brad Pitt tosses locs in Interview Magazine’s October/ November 2012 issue. Spiritual or not, dreads are just sexy. South Florida is no exception to the trend.
Sandy Dorsainvil, who lives in Pembroke Pines, chopped off her hair and started locking six years ago. Now she enjoys flipping her natural, long hair like a white girl.
“I love the fact that my hair is mine,” said Dorsainvil. “I love the way it smells and the feeling of my significant other’s fingers running through it.” She’s one of many locals who have traded their wigs and weaves for beeswax and exchanged do-rag wave caps for dread wraps.
Miami’s growing loc-hair demographic has inspired an emergence of loc professionals (locticians) who specialize in everything from starting new locs to creating twists, adding extensions and caring for cranial prosthetic locs. Here’s a local guide that will take the dread out of finding one:
15800 Northwest 42nd Ave.,
Miami Gardens, 786-383-4247
4239 W. Commercial Blvd.,
306 NE 2nd Ave., Suite 4,
Delray Beach, 561-330-0377
A Kinky Thing
17068 West Dixie Hwy.,
North Miami Beach, 305-343-8373
African Hair Village
16517 NE 6th Ave.,
North Miami Beach, 305-945-5399
14620 West Dixie Hwy., North Miami, 786-541-5445
ManeTain Natural Hair & Skin Care
893 NE 125th St.,
North Miami, 305-458-6635
Eloctricity Natural Hair Studio
7900 NW 27th Ave.,