Social media blew up last week after a viral post showed a Black boy’s locs getting cut off over his father’s disapproval of the style.
The incident began when mother Kitta Nicole posted to Facebook on Wednesday, March 8, about her son Jaylen’s locs. The post included two photos of Jaylen before and after his locs were cut, along with a screenshotted conversation with the dad.
“My boys went to spend a night with their dad and this ts he chose to do!!!” Nicole wrote in the post. “My baby is so hurt and embarrassed and I’m hurt bc I know how he loved his hair. He don’t even wanna go back to school.”
According to the screenshot, when Nicole asked him why he snipped his locs, he defended his actions by expressing he never wanted Jaylen’s hair to get twisted.
“I told you I didn’t want his hair twisted, braided, or dreaded. That’s not suitable,” he said. “I don’t want him to look like he came from the streets.”
“To some it may not be a big deal, but I’m crushed(yes I cried too bc my kids are my world),” the mother said. “My baby is really hurt and embarrassed. Huge shout out to the assistant principal for making an exception with the strict no hat/hoodie policy to help my son. I’m forever grateful for this great school district!!”
The original Facebook post got over 6,000 reactions, but once it hit Twitter via user Chief Konfam, the conversation really took off. Another Twitter user going by @954Cobi quote-tweeted Konfam’s post, saying “Ngl I side eye black people who feel this way bout locs.”
That got over 36,000 likes as of Tuesday afternoon (March 14), stirring up even more discussion about how Black people view their own natural hair. Many backed up Nicole, stating that Jaylen shouldn’t have to worry about how his natural hair looks to the world.
“Poor kid. 6yrs old and being told his hair makes him look gangsta. Imagine criminalizing your child from a hair style he likes,” a Twitter user wrote.
“We were pushed away from our culture so it’s understandable. This instance is horrible and feeling abusive,” another commented.
“My only issue here is the fact that the man (and a large % of the society) thinks that having such hairstyle makes him look irresponsible. Like we havent seen thugs with lowcuts and Doctors with Dreads,” a commentator stated.
“So if that was the case why did dad allow it to get this long to begin with?” a Facebook user said. “He should’ve tolerated it the way he’s been tolerating it because that wasn’t his decision to make. That child is old enough to make decisions about his own hair.”
There were other social media users who were in the father’s corner, as well, claiming the mother should’ve respected the father’s wishes.
“The dad has a point, ghetto people make excuses and think everything is acceptable because it ‘looks cool.’ Good for the dad having common sense to know better,” a Facebook user wrote.
“He had hair like the average thug. He ain’t want his boy to look like no thug. He told you he didn’t want that for him and you did it anyway,” Twitter user said under the original tweet.
“From the convo, the father already told the mum he doesn’t want his son’s hair twisted,” another person wrote. “Yes, the boy loves the hair but then he’s too young be making every decision for himself. At this level the father doesn’t want twist and the boy is his responsibility,”
Chief Konfam even chimed in, saying, “You understand kids are impressionable. If the mother didn’t go against the father’s wish to braid his hair, the boy wouldn’t have even had a chance to say he likes that hairstyle. It was the fault of the mother.”
Many internet denizens also brought up the long history of natural Black hairstyles, including locs, braids, and afros, getting ridiculed or stereotyped as unruly or unacceptable, especially in the workplace and school. Dreadlocks, coined by British people while colonizing Kenya in the 19th century, have been referred to simply as “locs” by Black Americans to dispel the negative connotation.
“Far too often, black students are humiliated, shamed, or banned from school because of bias against natural black hair,” Río Tabacco Mar, who represented Black women in racial discrimination lawsuits, wrote in a New York Times opinion piece. “When it comes to hair, only black people and multiracial people of African descent are punished when they choose to wear styles consistent with their natural hair texture.”
Nowadays, wearing your natural hair or having a protective hairstyle has been seen as a form of personal expression and cultural reclamation after years of demonization. Experts say we have the Internet and social media to thank for that.
“We have images of natural hair everywhere now because of social media,” journalist Ayana Byrd, who authored a book on the history of Black hair in America, told Glamour in 2020. “We’re not going to go back to not being able to wear our hair [how we want]. This is who we are.”