Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

We Need to Talk About Jeremy Lin’s Dreadlocks

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Jeremy Lin has dreadlocks.

As a writer, I was taught to craft a “lede” to a story that concisely summarizes the who, what, when, where and how of the story. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but sometimes you have to use the words that Jesus puts in your heart. When I bent, prostrate, to speak to the omnipotent transformer of water into wine about the decision of the Brooklyn Nets point guard to loc his hair, he came to me in a vision and said thusly:

“What the fuck?”

Again, for the readers just joining us: Jeremy Lin, the Chinese-American basketball player, has motherfucking dreadlocks.

Former NBA star and real-ass ninja Kenyon Martin channeled our sentiments and reflected the old African proverb passed down by the ancestors and stored in the souls of black folks that loosely translates as, “Certain shit, you just don’t do,” when he went off in a video:

“Do I need to remind this damn boy that his last name Lin?” Martin explained in a now-deleted Instagram post. “Come on, man, let’s stop ... these people. There is no way possible, man, he would’ve made it on one of our teams, man, with that bullshit going on on his head, man! Come on, man, somebody really need to tell him, ‘Aight, bro, we get it, like ... you want to be black. We get it.’”


Speak for yourself, Kenyon. I don’t get it at all. I have some journalistic questions that need answering before I’m on board with this.


Specifically: Nigga, what?

This is one of those rare times that the Negro Constitution declares that it is OK to use the n-word. It clearly states in Section B of the Second Amendment that one can ask “Nigga, what?” when:

  1. Someone talks about your mama.
  2. You’re eating grits and someone asks if you want sugar.
  3. Nonblack people wear dreadlocks.


Where did he get this done? Did he go to a salon? Was it in someone’s kitchen?

Oh, I forgot ... he plays in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can get anything in Brooklyn. You can buy a rocket launcher, a velvet photo of Martin Luther King Jr. shaking hands with Tupac, or Chinese dreadlocks all on the same block.



Did this idea just come to him, or had Lin been waiting his entire life for this moment? I bet he saw this fine, dark-skinned girl one day who wouldn’t pay him any attention, partly because there’s no way she believed him when he told her he played in the NBA. A few weeks later, he probably saw that same girl with a tall black dude with locs down his back. That’s when he got the idea.


Bruh, you’ve played for the Knicks and the Nets. That’s barely in the NBA. I could play for the Nets if I wanted to. I went to see them play last season and the coach tried to get me to go in the game, but I didn’t have my sneakers with me.


How did he do this? It’s not hard to grow black dreadlocks—you just grow your hair and twist. That’s it.


But is there a special molecular material that nonblack people add to their hair to get it to loc? It always looks like they spackled it together with spit and hot dog water when I see it. Maybe that’s what he used.


Who told Jeremy Lin this was OK? I feel a little bit sorry for Lin because he obviously doesn’t have any friends.


I have friends who are Asian, white and many other ethnicities (I do! OK, if you don’t believe me, just play along for a minute). If one of them came to me and said, “Mike, what do you think about me getting dreadlocks?” he’d probably have to wait 30-45 minutes before I recovered from the debilitating stomach cramp from laughing so hard, and then I’d explain to him the history of the hairstyle, the culture behind it and why dreadlocks aren’t just some shit you do to your hair all willy-nilly.

I’d tell him that it means something. Dreads are a subtle protest and a personal bit of empowerment in a culture that strips away every part of your heritage, down to your hair follicles. I’d tell him that—for some—it is a religious experience. I’d explain that it is the height of privilege and disrespect to appropriate all of that just because he thinks it looks cute. But perhaps the most important question is:


Why, though?

Jesus and I would like to know.

Either way, we salute Jeremy Lin on day 23 of his unnatural-hair journey.