In the past they were known by their Rastafarian coiffure, but now they wear well-trimmed haircuts. Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Vanessa Obioha write on celebrities who changed their appearances with their hairstyles
Hair has held tremendous attraction for admirers of the human anatomy since the creation of man. Hair is one of the prominent physical attributes that defines a person. However, attitudes towards different hair types or styles vary from one culture to another. This divergence is further narrowed to individual outlook. Therefore, hair is commonly used to make a statement that describes one’s character; sometimes it surmises cultural, social or religious beliefs. It is often described in elevated terms as a ‘crown’.
Beyond its transformational capability, it is a sort of identity, particularly for those in the creative industry. The way you style your hair says a lot about your personality. It could connote attitude, career path and roots. For those in the creative industry, it clearly delineates style and brand identity. For instance, the famous dreadlocks which mostly identify a leaning towards Rastafarianism have accepted by other cultures. Nowadays, dreadlocks are rocked by individuals who have no business in the arts, entertainment or media. One doesn’t necessarily have to be a die-hard Bob Marley fan to wear the hairstyle.
It has since become a huge trend for both male and females, irrespective of their careers. Bankers, footballers, lawyers wear the hairstyle. Interestingly, the allure of locks was not always there. It gained popularity in the 21st century as individuals sought ways to express themselves with their hairstyle. In the past, dreadlocks was associated with spiritual convictions, particularly in most African cultures. For instance, in many Nigerian ethnic groups, children born with naturally locked hair were ascribed the gift of prophecy or believed to be the offspring of a deity, and were generally called ‘Dada’. Dreadlocks also known as dreads or locks dates back to 3600 years ago in Ancient Greece, according to Wikipedia. Soon, it spread to other parts of the world like ancient Egypt and Senegal.
Also, the Maasai warriors in Kenya are identified by their long, thin red locks. The Rastafari culture, which is commonly believed to have grown out of Jamaica, sold dreadlocks to the world, largely through Reggae music. The belief is rooted in the popular myth that the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie is a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, through their son Menelik I. Rastafarians link their dreadlocks to the Biblical Nazarites who were forbidden from shaving their hair. Dreadlocks, however, gained mainstream popularity from the 1970s with the rise of Reggae, particularly, Bob Marley and the Wailers. Marley wore his locks long.
As the world evolved, dreads became a fashion statement that indicated liberalism, as well as creativity. Hair stylists came up with synthetic dread extensions for ladies. Perhaps, the most alluring element of this particular hairstyle is that it can be styled in different ways: long, short or in parts. The more creative the style, the more attractive it is. The common types of dreadlocks include traditional and sister locks. Traditional locks can be achieved in two ways: either through a salon on free-form. In the salon, the hairstylist uses a bonding agent to fuse the strands of hair together to form bonded dreadlocks; while free-form is naturally groomed by not combing or brushing the hair for a long time.
However, sister locks can be done within a short period of time without your hair being actually locked initially. What the stylist does is to create a parting grid on the scalp, then use a locking tool to move the natural hair into locked formation. Sister locks often look like thin dreads, sometimes like tiny braids.
As fashionable as this hairstyle is, it also comes with its own shortcomings. Natural dreads take a longer period to groom. This explains why most women opt for the dreads extensions or sister locks. There is also this general belief that dreads harbour dirt, thus the need to constantly wash it.
Also, the monotonous look could be very burdensome and boring.
Could this be the reason a couple of celebrities who previously rocked this hairstyle choose to shave it off?
Charles O’ Tudor
For the Love of State
Well known in advertising and branding industry, Charles has built an enviable reputation as an authoritative voice in brand strategy over the years. Through his Adstrat brand, Charles’ fame grew as he was highly sought after by top multinationals. He famously wore black attires always and encouraged his staff to appear in black, as well. His office and everything linked to Adstrat carried a black hue. Shortly before he was appointed by the then administration of Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State to manage the state brand, Charles shaved off his dreadlocks. Today, he still looks dapper in his low-cut hair, even if his name is not making giant waves like it did in the past.
Like a Chameleon
One of the things that distinguished the eccentric musician from his peers back then was the creative way he wore his dreadlocks; loading it with an array of colourful beads and cowries. No one understood the importance of hair to one’s image like Charly Boy. At the beginning of his career, he rocked androgynous look with his braided hairstyles which earned him the moniker ‘Nigeria’s Boy George’. Then he took on a Mohawkish look in the 80s, with help from his late cherished friend, Tyna Onwudiwe. He soon traded his punk look for dreadlocks in 1990s, assuming a Goth image. By 2014, he shaved off his dreadlocks and presently sports a bald head.
True or Not, We Concur
The ‘I Concur’ crooner entered the music scene with dreadlocks. He caused a sensation with the look as it became his signature. But in 2012, Timaya shocked his fans by shedding off his dreads. It was speculated that his baby mama inspired the decision. Other reports suggested that the artiste was merely rebranding. True or not, he obviously felt cool with it and we can’t help but concur.
Gone with Orangootan
Carl Raccah’s Orangootan Records fired the promising dreadlock wearing Rock artiste, Fadabasi onto the Nigerian music scene. He had previously recorded a Diamond Bank jingle produced by Carl. But it was ‘Abasi Mi Ayaya’ that exposed his genius, playing only the guitar and voice. Not too long after, Orangootan went under and so did Fadabasi. He resurfaced in his home state, Akwa Ibom, where he is now based, with a clean shaven head.
A Fleeting Feeling
The American-based Senegalese became world famous, playing Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in the Broadway musical, FELA! He told The Glitterati in an interview in Lagos that he started his acting career, wearing a dreadlock because that was how he felt at the time.
Dreadlocks or Not, Still Handsome
The former Nigerian Idol host used to sport an afro look. He traded it for dreadlocks, not too long after. That didn’t last also. He has returned to a clean shaven look. Through this shifting sand of changing hairstyles, what remained constant was his ravishing handsomeness.
23 Years is Enough
After rocking his long dreadlocks for 23 years, the convener of the monthly concert Afropolitan Vibes at Freedom Park in Lagos decided to let go of his locks. He described the change as painful but necessary. These days, he is hardly seen without a hat, perhaps, he is keeping his growing hair away from prying eyes.
Love Did It
In the case of this model/actor, letting go of his cherished dreadlocks look was simply an act of love. His wife Osas Ighodalo simply didn’t like his dreadlocks. To demonstrate his undying commitment to her, the Tinsel star booked an appointment with his barber to please his wife! He shaved his dreadlocks few days to his wedding.
All for Buhari
It was a case of politics for Dammy Krane. The popular ‘Amin’ singer made a daring promise to shave off his dreads if President Buhari wins the 2015 election. He kept to his word and joined the era of change without his dreadlocks.
No Harm in Trying
Quite a few remember Wizkid in dreadlocks. But the Starboy actually tried his head on dreadlocks back in 2014. However, by January 2015, he went back to his old look. At least, there is no harm in trying.
Marriage Did It
The Nollywood actress captivated many hearts when she burst into limelight, rocking her dreadlocks. She was quickly branded as one of Nollywood’s natural hair ambassadors. But after settling down, the actress felt it was time to let go of the dreadlocks. She still looks amazing in her weaves, braids and natural hair.
Missing Dreadlocks, Fading Fame
Before he attained fame, the ‘Apako’ Master wore his hair low. However, he picked up the dreadlocks as his signature as his popularity grew. Like other artistes who shaved off their dreadlocks as part of a re-branding process, Terry G took that route too. It’s still unclear if the missing dreadlocks contributed to his fading fame.