IGC: Please introduce yourself.
Well Hello World!! (smile) I’m Marcella André. I’m a media personality, teacher, and creative (writer, artist,). I’m truly humbled to be among your invited guests for “Feature Fridays”.
IGC: How did you come to lock your hair? Tell us your story.
Many years ago…oh so long ago, I think it was in 1998 or so, I went to a lock/natural hair event in Brooklyn. At the time I was still rocking a processed LIE. All around me, literally everyone had locks. There were little children with locks in two pony tails, men with regal looking styles, women with coloured locks and hair jewelry, older people with heads full of white, silvery stunning locks. There were hundreds of people and they all had locks. I think I was impacted by how they all seemed to carry themselves with a certain confidence and freedom that was the result of being liberated from the use and dependency of chemicals, hairdressers, and trying to fit into a mould that was not of their own making. Before this experience I had always thought of how beautiful locks looked on other people I knew with locks. As much as I thought about it, at the time, I grew up in a house where my mother said “not in my house!!!” Full stop.
IGC: How do you manage to have locks and remain in your profession?
That’s an interesting question, and one that I have never really considered or even thought of as a possibility or problem in my life. I must admit that though I know of people who have had difficulty with their workplaces because of attempting to grow locks, I have never had a negative inter-action with an employer specifically because of how I wear my hair. I will say that it has always been my position that should this occasion ever arise; the job would have to go before my hair ever did. I like to think that people hire individuals for what is IN their heads as opposed to what is ON it. I will not compromise my individuality, my beliefs and myself for anything, any job or any position. Should I one day decide to cut, go back to an afro, change my hairstyle (anything natural of course) it will be because I wanted to, not because the job, a man, or society said I should.
IGC: Why do you think locks have become such a popular hairstyle?
I think that people are embracing their natural hair first of all. I believe that even though it may not be true for all people who eventually go natural, many people who do make this decision have an awakening. This awakening marries embracing what one was born with to embracing oneself completely. This means accepting that “WE” do not have long flowing hair that you can run your hands through, that what we were born with is what we were meant to love and care for in our own way, using products that work for our particular type of hair.
IGC: If you could do it all over again and have any hairstyle, would you still choose locks? Why or why not?
If I could do it all again, I would have started my locks sooner, I would never have had my hair chemically processed and I would have made my locks thicker since they are a bit smaller than I would like them to be. Why? I am convinced that embracing your “natural” self leads to a more positive outlook and performance in your daily life. I am not sure what may have been but I think all of the “isms” and “schisms” that come with trying to be and look like what you are not, creates and maintains a type of complex in adolescence and into adulthood that would be sooner discarded with the acceptance that “this is how my hair is and this is a part of me that I love, regardless of who doesn’t”.
IGC: What do you enjoy best about your locks?
I love the versatility. There’s never a loss for options. ANY style that can be created with a perm can be done with locks. I also particularly enjoy rainy moments when my chemically processed friends are running for shelter and I meander along amused because I don’t have to worry about my hair or style “dropping”. Basically, hair is one less thing to worry about
IGC: What are your favorite styles for your locks?
My style is mostly dependant on the occasion. I love coming up with something for special occasions. I particularly like old school looks with side sweeps and sometimes curls. For work I do variations of buns and or ponytails. Sometimes I do two strand twists or plaits to get a particular look. I occasionally love a crazy all out there look for fetes/carnival, but mostly I like to experiment.
IGC: What is your current routine and do you go to the salon to get your locks styled or maintained?
My routine is simple. I wash every two weeks and re-twist once a month. Over twisting can lead to a receding hairline and weak locks so I’m not a fan of the always perfectly neat locks. One of the reason I grew locks was so that I would not be dependent on hairdressers. I have been doing my own hair for several years and do not use many products. There is a concoction in my spritz bottle that comprises of a variety of oils (castor, olive, carrot,) in a bottle with a little water and I spray that on in the mornings or before going out. Occasionally I also do a home made aloe conditioner that gives my hair a nice natural glow. On a very very very rare occasion I may visit a hairdresser but those occasions are few and far between.
IGC: Have you experienced or noticed any changes in how you are perceived with your locks?
When my locks were at the baby and in between stages I got some looks, some quizzical stares from work colleagues, the occasional dumb question – “so you start smoke weed now?”, and of course my mother’s constant complaining “what’s really going on with your head?”. Overall, as time passed the comments and looks were more positive and more of admiration than anything else.
IGC: What advice would you give to a woman who is considering locking her hair?
For anyone who is considering locking their hair, I would say the following:
Be sure you know what you are getting into. Do the research. Read as much as possible as you can about cultivating locks BEFORE starting so that you know and understand what to expect.
Be REALISTIC!!! Locks will not grow overnight. I’ve had mine for nine years but in the beginning it felt like they just were not growing. If you’ve had processed hair for a while it takes time to learn about your natural hair and to form a “relationship” with that natural hair. Remember your natural hair is nothing like and will be nothing like that straight hair you have been accustomed to for years.
Be Patient and Get Creative with how you “present” yourself. Most of all enjoy the journey and enjoy the little awakenings you will have along the way. It will all be worth it and soon you will be in love with your hair and yourself!!
Interlocking is NOT your friend. It may seem quick, easy and neat in the beginning, and it may even help you to maintain a constantly neat appearance but be warned, eventually your hair will thin out, your hairline will recede and that lovely crop of locks will look stringy and weak. Interlocking puts additional pressure on the hair roots. Allow your hair to do it’s thing. Your hair will eventually “learn” to maintain the cylindrical look that comes with twisting.
Last but not least DO NOT use beeswax or anything with the words “petroleum” or “petrolatum” in your hair. It makes the hair heavy, makes it attract dirt and these things also lead to heavy buildup.
Thanks for inviting me to share these thoughts with your readers Caron. I hope something I said will prove helpful and inspirational. Keep up the good work with this blog.
Well Marcella, I’m sure our readers can agree that your lock hair story and perspective was quite an interesting and intriguing one. You gave some very useful pointers there at the end that I am positive will help someone. It was a pleasure having you. We will definitely have to catch up with you for a follow up interview.
Let’s show Marcella some ❤! Friends don’t forget to rate, like, comment and subscribe.