In Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles, author Bert Ashe examines his decision to grow dreadlocks while exploring the hairstyle’s history and cultural significance. The personal and often humorous narrative invites the reader to share in Ashe’s dreadlock journey of discovery, not only about twisting hair, but about himself.
Ashe shares his anxiety and excitement throughout the process of growing out his hair. How will he be perceived with his hair “locked”? Is he a different man or the same man, only now more authentically himself? Why won’t his hair grow faster? Has it rebelled, vowing to lock no longer?
Along the way, Ashe looks into the roots of the style, the origin of the term “dreadlocks,” when the hairstyle entered his and America’s consciousness, and how people have reacted to those sporting the style then and now.
At the end of last year, a friend had recommended that I watch Good Hair, a documentary by Chris Rock, which looks at the black hair industry. I enjoyed it – it was informative as well as entertaining. I had no idea how much pain (in the wallet and on the scalp) people will go through to get the hair they want, in the way they want it.
After watching, I suggested to my friend that we both read Twisted, which was in my to-read pile on one of my bookshelves. I had met the author at a James River Writers Writing Show over the summer. Looking back now, the book is a good complement to the documentary. In his book, Ashe embraces the twists and locks, while many of the women in the documentary seek to iron them out. Fascinating to read and view what motivates them.
Have you read the book? What do you think?