Controversy in fashion can never come to an end. People will always have different opinions when it comes to certain topics.
We asked Nigerians with locked, coloured or both locked and coloured hair about the stigma they face and reactions they have gotten from people because of their hair choice. Here’s what they shared with us;
I started braiding my hair because I just wanted to change something about my look, that was it, wasn’t anything major. Apparently I have stuck to it since then.
Colour? I just started that about a month or two ago because my hairstylist said I should try it 🤷♂️.
Reactions? Oh well, as per Naija nah, some people that used to know me were always like, “Why?” But everyone has gotten used to it now, each hairstyle is now compared to the last and some people even say I should never go back to having a “normal hairstyle”. For people that don’t know me, I really don’t care what they think, and I never put myself in positions or places where I know I would get looked at weirdly.
We live in a very hypocritical society, so people will always have opinions, when they themselves sin differently and are not better. Oh well, like I said before, I really don’t care about people’s opinions as long as I’m comfortable with what I do and it makes me happy.
Adedeji Adeniji, Animator
I’ve locked my hair twice. The first time, I just got tired of combing my giant hair, but I hated the idea of low cut, so dreads was like a win-win. No more combing and I get to keep the hair
People’s reactions ranged from approval to “cautionary disapproval”, to just straight-up insults from some people calling it a rat’s nest and such.
I can’t say I noticed any form of stigmatisation directly, but there’s definitely always been a weird stigma around dreadlocks for no good reason. But more people seem to have them nowadays, so, I guess that’s progress.
Omotoyosi Akintunde, Medical Doctor.
I’ve changed the colour of my locks many times because I love crazy hairstyles.
Surprisingly, people don’t seem to mind my dreadlocks. Because I’m female, most people tend to think I fixed it, so it is no big deal for them. Having dreadlocks hasn’t affected my job as a medical doctor in any way, my patients don’t mind it and neither do my supervisors. As far as it is neat, they don’t have a problem with it.
When I was in university, however, my lecturers complained about all the different colours I used to put in my hair and they felt I was a rebellious person. They started to refer to me as ‘the girl that does all sorts of hairstyles’, but, they could not do anything about it.
Adesegun Bello, Photographer
I coloured my hair blonde because I wanted something different.
The experience has been crazy! I’ve gotten all kinds of reactions from people and they all sum up to “waywardness”.
There’s a lot of stigma against those with coloured hair. You have to have tough skin to stand it.
Iniobong Nwa, Customer Service Representative
I coloured my hair because I wanted a new look. I cut my hair and it was looking too simple so I opted to dye it.
Very many people like it but most of them can’t bring themselves to do it. Lol.
I would say there’s a kind of stigma against people like us, I used to also think ill of those with coloured hair till I did mine. Most people have not accepted it yet but they don’t have the guts to say it lol.
A lot of people were surprised I did, but since it wasn’t extreme they started to think it wasn’t so bad after all. I think it would be more widely accepted in the future.
Deborah Esonna, Student
I coloured my hair because I loved the concept of it.
The reactions I’ve gotten from people have been crazy – the older generation makes you feel weird and the younger generation is a bit conflicted.
Some love it but can’t do it for the fear of being looked down on or being called names because some people will say it’s bad.
I’ve experienced stigmatisation because of my different hair colours. People make it seem like it’s a gateway to hell and that’s because they are not enlightened. Even some supposed enlightened people still fall into this category.
Idunnu Dada, Administrative Assistant
I wanted to express myself and have different looks basically, so, I’ve coloured my hair multiple times. One hair colour for a lifetime is boring 😭.
The reactions I’ve received so far have been positive, although my mother was not, and still is not, a fan of me changing my hair colour.
Stigmatisation depends on which society you’re in. In Nigeria, probably 80 per cent of people stigmatise people with coloured hair. In Canada the percentage is not that high, I have not gotten stigmatised so far.
I believe it will be more acceptable by society at some point. I mean it’s hair colour 🤷🏽♀️.
The decision to lock my hair was more of a feeling than a choice, I just feel more myself having long hair that grows naturally.
There have been mostly positive reactions to my dreadlocks.
I think as Africans we should appreciate our hair more and not hate it.