What constitutes a formal haircut? Sometime ago there was an out roar on social media about a google search result which showed black men with their natural hair when you typed “unprofessional hairstyles.” The world is still very much soar from the effects of colonialism and slavery as we can observe racist undertones in our social and professional circles. Dreadlocks are stereotyped as a rebellious hairstyle by corporates and many times people with them face discrimination. This made me sit in a chair at a barber shop as I was told to remove my locs inorder to secure employment.
Knowing I wasn’t the only one who had to go through this I was inspired to create something along the concept of empowering people who had dreadlocks. This is how the concept “Dreads at Work” was born. I called my good friends Tino Chimuka and Kuda Chikwanda and told them about my idea. With both of them being photographers I knew that they would help bring my idea to life by capturing captivating visuals. I reached out to Tatenda on the gram to join the cast as I had been a huge fan of his work for the longest . He was cool about it and we instantly formed a bond which later developed into a friendship. Next person to join the team was Riyan, my uni roommate. Not only does he have a fire playlist but I am certain he could be a model if he gave it some thought. Everything fell into place and on the day everyone came ready and we produced a masterpiece.
The streets were chilling as there was very little activity on a Sunday. The weather was also behaving as it stayed overcast and we didn’t see a single drop of rain until the next day. It wasn’t hard finding a photogenic place to shoot as Harare’s architecture is sublime. The people we met along the way were warm and receptive and we managed to interact with a florist by the name of Elliot who had his locs for over 21 years. Overly the day was successfully and when the visuals did come out they were well received on all socials.
There is something about creating art that is beyond you that is so empowering. Art is well and truly for the people. I believe that we all progress the culture in one way or another. Whether its through the way we dress, the way we talk and ultimately the way we live life. We are like puzzle pieces that form the basis of culture. That is why it is important that art reflects society and furthers conversations. Through our work we can change perceptions and maybe we can make Dreadlocks the new formal.
Live your truth and if it makes you feel alive do it more.
Director: Usher Nyambi
Videography / Photography : Tino Chimuka
Photography: Kuda Chakwanda