Monday, August 31, 2009

Is a Mohawk an Acceptable Black Hairstyle?


Okay, besides Mr. T. can you think of another Black man who rocks a Mohawk...well?

My sons are both currently sporting Mohawks, or maybe we might blur the lines a bit and call them "Fro-hawks," as they are right now in serious need of cutting and shaping. But the point is, after witnessing many of their friends both at school and in the neighborhood getting Mohawks, children of varying ethnic backgrounds mind you, they wanted in on the fun too. So I took them to the barber at the beginning of the summer and let him turn my previously adorable, bordering on cherubic children, into mini-warriors.

Seriously, with their new Mohawks, my sons looked fierce. And I mean that in a kind of good way. They didn't look bad (although their grandmother would seriously disagree) although it took some time getting used to on my part. And it's just hair, right? I knew if it looked horrible we could cut it off and start all over again. But then, just as I started to admire the boldness of the look, and enjoy the bad-ass effect it gave my boys, I started noticing some backlash. I read on a blog that Black kids looked ridiculous in Mohawks (this from a Black man). I also read that Mohawks meant something culturally to Native Americans and by wearing the style we, non Native Americans, were misappropriating a style.

What do you think? Can a Black or Mixed child with curly/kinky hair rock a Mohawk if he wants to? Is there some meaning behind the style? I'd like to know. Hit me back if you have some hairstorical information to share on this newly ubiquitous style.

Peace.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

You reminded me of when I was in high school many many years ago, and my brother gave himself a horrifying fro-hawk (his hair was too short to pull off a real mohawk, but he somehow managed to shave off either side of his head and leave a rather uneven patch of hair in the middle). He looked insane. My dad (who wasn't much of a disciplinarian, but really cared about us dressing "right" was PISSED and tried to shave it off in the middle of the night - fortunately for my brother, it's very taboo in our african tradition to cut hair at night, and his mohawk lived for a few hours longer before it was summarily chopped off by dad the next morning. Yeah, my brother might have been the only african person I'd ever seen (besides Mr. T - we thought he was african back then) rocking a Mohawk, even though it was for approximately 24 hours - I guess he was very fashon forward, for the mid-eighties...I'm sure your sons look adorable with their 'hawks and not as fierce as you imagine. Rock on!

Naima said...

Um I don't know exactly where you have been but black men AND women have been sporting mohawks for the past couple of years. Some women have even braided their hair to form a mohawk. If you want to go by what celebs have been doing, Diddy was sporting one a couple of years ago.

Farah said...

Yes, it's been acceptable for quite some time.

JBH said...

Absolutely! In my "ideal world", hair should be able to be worn as a form of personal expression without fear of judgment:-) Unfortunately, I know that we are far off from this ideal and appearance communicates a lot to family, friends and strangers.

My thinking is: It is just hair after all. Especially for kids - there are worse things that they could be experimenting with...and if they don't like it, they can shave it off and start again!

Carleen Brice said...

It's definitely the in thing. See a lot of "faux hawks" here with the hair gelled up in the middle.

LT said...

Anon.
tee-hee. Thanks for sharing.

Naima,
I know people have been wearing Mohawks forever. My question wasn't do Black people wear them, it was more of a "is it an acceptable hairstyle?" Like is there a good reason why Black people should reconsider before requesting such a style. Of course it should always be about choice, but sometimes...as in the case of a Jheri Curl, a little intervention by friends and family is appropriate and helpful. I was simply asking for the intervention.

Farah,
Thanks.

JBH,
For the most part, I totally agree with you.

Carleen,
Good to know, that the trend has moved West.

Tasia Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tasia Johnson said...

yes, its cool! I'm a 20yr old African American female with curly, textured hair, and I rock a honey blonde mohawk. : ) I actually like it better than the dreadz I had.

LT said...

Tasia,
Sounds so cool!

Anonymous said...

My older brother has a Mohawk that he regularly get compliments on. I think it's how you wear the style, not so much who is wearing it. He's 1/4 Cherokee, so his hair is kind of straight and wavy, so he get a littler perm and his hair naturally did the rest.

LT said...

Anon,
Sounds like your brother's hawk is totally cool.