Much has been said within the last few weeks about locs and the red carpet, much of it said by folks who know little about locs in the first place. I’ll be honest with you, I found it hard to rustle up a response to the whole Giuliana Rancic/Zendaya loctroversy, because in all my days I can’t say there’s ever been a moment where I cared what Giuliana Rancic had to say about anything. Just saying. Fashion Police has never been my cup of tea, and clearly in the wake of Joan Rivers’ demise there are big shoes to fill over there. But the crack on Zendaya’s beautiful loc extensions (styled by Shelby Swain) went beyond the usual snark; it revealed volumes about the willful ignorance, assumptions and stereotypes around black natural hairstyles.
Despite the ignorance, there were a few good things that happened in that whole debacle. First of all, I grew to admire and appreciate Zendaya in a way I never did before. What a brilliant young lady she is!
Secondly, we aren’t here for the nonsense anymore. Social media allows and empowers us to make our voice heard in a way that some folks aren’t ready for – but they better GET ready forevermore. The days where media figures could make ignorant and judgmental, unchallenged aspersions on black hair are over. From here on out, Twitter and Instagram and YouTube and Facebook WILL drag you, WILL tell you about yourself, and will possibly call for an apology or your job, or both. Here’s hoping the Giulianas of the world have taken note.
The third beautiful thing that happened was the awareness and appreciation of locs. Zendaya may have switched up her style less than a week later, but that red carpet look sparked interest and awareness in countless women around the world. Now they know what we’ve BEEN knowing – that locs are regal, elegant, and absolutely stunning. They are a way of life for some. They represent religion for others. Many who choose to loc their hair do it for a reason that is of great personal significance. I’ve known quite a few folks with locs who can read their past through the thickness of their hair – point to areas and name the year, based on their memories. Locs are amazing and beautiful. And thanks to stars like Zendaya and Ledisi and Ava DuVernay, they’re having a major moment on the red carpet.
My dear friend, natural hair guru and extraordinary hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, styled Ava DuVernay’s locs for many of her major events throughout red carpet season — check her out @LovingYourHair on Instagram to see the range of her work! She’s amazing. Felicia generously shared some of her top tips for Red Carpet Locs:
1 – Make sure that you choose a loc style that works with your attire. If you are wearing a dress that has a low neckline or any kind of beaded design, you may want to consider an up-do hairstyle or a side-swiped hairdo.
2 – Be sure to have your locs coiffed/groomed before your big day, you can create the design on the day of you event.
3 – Hairpins will be your best friend. You will need plenty of hairpins.
4 – Locs tend to look dry so it would be really important for you to have an oil mist to spray on the locs to add shine.
5 – And I’m going to chime in with number 5 – think of your locs as a crown and rock them with your head held high like the queen that you are.
I want to believe that somewhere between the headlines generated by Zendaya’s locs on the Oscars red carpet and the appreciative acceptance of Ava DuVernay’s updo that very evening, there will be a new education and acceptance of locs. I’m ready for it! What say you, bellas? What are your top loc tips?