Weekend Reading: One Man’s True, Twisted Story

Photo by agate publishing
University of Richmond professor Bert Ashe explores his complicated relationship with his own locs in his new memoir.

In his new memoir, Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles (Agate, $15), author Bert Ashe uses dreads for a refreshing comment on Black hair and personal style.

Beyond the details of how Ashe grew his salt and pepper locs, Twisted is another take on the Black natural hair movement. The University of Richmond professor speaks to those who have cultivated or transitioned into their natural hair, whether braids, wild curls or, of course, dreadlocks. 

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As he writes in the preface, the story “is not linear, cannot be linear—because dreadlocks are not a linear hairstyle.” Ashe describes in vivid, and often comedic, detail his unkempt first steps to locking, complete with stares, disgust and drilling questions from strangers and loved ones. Along with these bumbling moments, he weaves in history about the hairstyle, descriptions of those who wore it and the uncertainties that led to his 15-year journey toward “getting twisted.” 

Throughout the book, Ashe stays true to the locs, echoing their form, function and message in the writing. Twisted will inspire you to look in the mirror and investigate what messages are conveyed by your clothes, your demeanor and, most importantly, your hair.  

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What is your loc story?

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