Dr. Kwame Nantambu

TnT's social fear of dreadlocks

by Dr. Kwame Nantambu
December 09, 2005

One of the incredulous anomalies permeating TnT's society is the apparent fear and disdain for and jaundiced look at, Afrikan-Trinbagonian males who wear dreadlocks. It seems as though such a reflex action has been ordained by the invisible stakeholders of society. And this reaction originates more from female Afrikan-Trinbagonians.

Their reaction tantamounts to the sad reality as if there is a societal computer programme in their subconscious mind that illicits, fashions and determines their negative reaction toward any upcoming Afrikan-Trinbagonian male who wears deardlocks.

Such a scenario causes this writer, who wears dreadlocks, to feel sorry for and pity such people of Afrikan descent. Or maybe it is quite presumptuous of me to assume that such people consider themselves to be of Afrikan descent.

These reactionary females are historically-culturally disconnected, detoured and severed from their original Afrikan past, by design and not by accident.

Such individuals do not react in this same manner toward an upcoming white Trinbagonian who also wears dreadlocks (and there are many such men like that in TnT).

This suggests that as long as dreadlocks have a white-European connection then they are legit, civilized and socially acceptable---- they are not scary or obnoxious on a white head.

However, when this hairstyle has a Black-Afrikan connection then and only then does it become illegit, uncivilised and unacceptable.

This genre of behaviour on the part of female Trinbagonians is nothing more than utter stupidity at its zenith.

The fact of the matter is that historiography proves that dreadlocks, braids, etc, did not originate in Ethiopia or Jamaica in the A.D. era. In fact, the Afrikans who built the pyramids in ancient Kemet/Egypt in the B.C. era wore dreadlocks. The Kemetic/Afrikan Highpriests who educated, civilized and humanized the Greeks (world's first Europeans) in this era also wore dreadlocks.

In the B.C. era, the wearing of dreadlocks represented a spiritual way of life and being. It was not a hairstyle statement albeit perceived anti-social, anti-establishment, revolutionary behaviour.

Indeed, as far back as the XXI Dynasty, 1085-950 B.C., Kemetic/Afrikan women wore braids in spiritual ceremonies to the gods. They were not a hairstyle statement then.

Afrikan-Trinbagonians must realize that the Government Minister who publicly stated that he did not want to be a "mook" if he were to wear an Afrikan outfit is of Afrikan descent; he also does not wear dreadlocks but has a nice Christian-sounding name.

Afrikan-Trinbagonians must realize that the Government Minister of Education who teaches Afrikan-Trinbagonian children how to beat pan rather than how to read, write and engage in critical thinking and analysis as the first vital step in any school curriculum priority, is of Afrikan descent with a nice Christian-sounding name.

Afrikan-Trinbagonians must realize that none of the individuals who are involved in the alleged billion-dollar Piarco International Airport bribery cum corruption scandal wears dreadlocks; they all have nice Christian/ethnic-sounding names.

It is time for Afrikan-Trinbagonians to look inward at themselves and smell the coffee--- the smell is Black/Afrikan.

When such people look in the mirror what they see is not a Trini; they see an Afrikan staring right back at them. It must be recognized that Afrika is our Home; TnT is our Destination. The various European slave-masters brought our forefathers (not ancestors) from Mother Afrika to Father TnT.

As such, we are all Afrikan-Trinbagonians. We are not Afro-Trinbagonians. There is no continent or country on this planet/earth named Afro. It is now overdue time for Afrikan-Trinbagonians to cease and desist from calling or referring to ourselves as Afro-Trinbagonians. This is a misnomer.

The societal label of Afro-American has been expunged from America's social lexicon/jargon since 1988. The Afrikans who were brought from Afrika to America in 1619 are called Afrikan-Americans. That is their correct, historical, ancestral social designation/label They are not Afro-Americans. They did not come from Afro -land to America. Afro-American is a social term that is no longer in vogue.

Ergo, Dr. Roy Austin, US Ambassador to TnT is a proud Afrikan-American; to refer to him as an Afro-American is totally and unabashedly insulting, denigrating and demeaning.

In these trying times, let us all move forward as one proud ethnic class of Afrikan-Trinbagonians and have respect for each other, regardless of name and hairstyle.

In the admonition of Marcus Mosiah Garvey: "Up you mighty race; you can accomplish what you will."

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani Labour College and University of the West indies.

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