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Curly Nikki

On the Couch with Hakim

By January 27th, 20217 Comments

By Jor-El of Mane Man

On the Couch with Hakim

Today, I’m excited to introduce to you our newest MANE MAN, Hakim! Check out his interview below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (your name, where you’re from, etc.)

Wassup, y’all! Hakim here! Some call me Hak, Keem or Dream Team (don’t ask, lol)…whatever works for you is cool with me. I was born and raised in North Philadelphia and that’s where I reside today. I love my hood! It’s a lil cray, but I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world! I’m redeemed, a music business professional, writer, music lover, part-time sales associate, uncle, son and friend!

What’s your current hair style?

Right now I have shoulder length locs. And let me tell you, I have a lot of them!!!! Hundreds!!

When did you start growing your hair out? How did the people around you react initially? And now?

I started growing my hair at the end of 2007, I believe. Initially, I just wanted to grow my hair out, but a good friend of mine had started to lock his hair and I was really interested. I always wanted to experiment with my hair but never felt like I had the liberty to explore those options. It was never anything extreme, just maybe a HUGE, HUGE fro, locs, etc. In the urban African American community there is this silent rule that all men must have short hair. Fades and Caesars are cool, and of course the clean shaven baldy but that’s about it. If you had locs, you’re automatically deemed the weed head, Rasta, or just plain ole’ dirty. Any other style or interest in exploring other options meant that you were gay, questionable and/or too eccentric. I hated that and I wanted to break down those stereotypes. When you look at other cultures, men do what they want with their hair. They grow it out, cut it, style it, and color it….so why couldn’t I do that? Since growing my hair for a few years, I can say we’ve definitely grown as a culture. I see young dudes in the hood rocking their skinny jeans with their dyed hair (thanks to Wiz Khalifa), curly tops (Philly style), etc. But we still have a way to go as a community pertaining to what we deem acceptable for men. I started my loc journey the day before Easter in 2008. People weren’t really surprised when they saw that I starting the locking process. Growing up I was the dude from the hood who sang classical music, did musical theater and went to prestigious magnet performing arts school. So I guess that made me different altogether.

The process was fun but also very telling. I was amazed with the locking process and excited to see my hair grow. At the same time a lot of my deep-rooted insecurities came to the surface. I didn’t feel good about myself unless my hair was freshly twisted and accompanied by a nice shape up. I would get irritated when my hair started to get fuzzy and “unmanageable”. So I would try to get my hair retwisted every four weeks and get a fresh line in between. After a few years, I got tired of putting on for people and I just allowed my locs to free-form. So during the Spring of 2011, I stopped going to the salon, I just simply shampooed, conditioned, moisturized and made sure my locs weren’t growing together. It was a very freeing experience for me. I realized that I twisted my hair and got my line ups for people. I cared way too much about how people perceived me. It was bondage. I wasn’t secure in my identity or manhood. But I was glad that I could admit it.

As men we don’t sit down and candidly talk about our insecurities. We mask and hide them but they leak out in so many areas of our lives. I know countless dudes who won’t go a week without hitting up the barbershop, or won’t walk out the door without the freshest lay (outfit for you non-Philly folk) on. These things become so habitual that we don’t see how we may be using them to cover over the brokenness within. There’s nothing wrong with looking good and being well-groomed. However, I think it’s healthy to stop and ask ourselves why we do the things we do. Why do we care so much about what people think? It’s often because we want a sense of validation and acceptance from them. But I’ve learned that affirmation from people never truly lasts; it’s temporal and fleeting.

My exposed insecurities during my journey with my locs forced me to look to the Lord to find my identity. He loves me just as I am, not based on what I do, how I look or any kind of performance. I’m His creation! That’s huge for me. As I continue to rest in His truth, I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I’m not all the way there, but I’m definitely on my way.

How do you maintain your look?

Maintaining my look is pretty easy. I don’t do too much to my hair. I rarely get my hair styled. I wear it down, pulled back or in a ponytail. I try to put something on my head every night before I sleep, but that doesn’t always happen.

I shampoo and condition my hair whenever I feel like it needs to be done. There’s no deep, mystical process for that. If it feels smells and/or looks dirty, I wash it….unless I’m tired, LOL. Shampooing my hair is definitely an ordeal, especially during the fall and winter because you want to make sure it’s dry. During the summer, I would shampoo, condition, moisturize and go out the door. Every so often I do an ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) soak/rinse with baking soda to cleanse my hair from buildup. I feel like I still have some lint or buildup in my hair and it IRRITATES me to no end, so if you have any remedies let me know.

On the Couch with Hakim

Do you have any favorite products or hair tools that you would recommend to other mane men out there?

Okay, let’s talk about products. I’m realizing that I am pretty selective when it comes to what I use, but for a good reason. I don’t
shampoo or condition with anything that has sulfates. Sulfates are really drying and they simply aren’t good for your hair or body. In the past, I’ve used Kinky Curly Come Clean shampoo and my hair always feels very clean after I use it. It’s pretty dope. **AGREED!**

The last time I conditioned my hair I went old school and used mayonnaise and beaten eggs. It did a good job too! For my next wash, I’m going to try all Shea Moisture products. I had to hunt them down but I think it’s going to be worth it. I can actually read all of the ingredients and their products contain no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, paraffin, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrance, etc. That gives me lots of comfort.

I moisturize my hair with all kinds of oil – olive, tea tree, jojoba, and especially lavender because it’s balances your sebum production and is very calming. When I get my hair retwisted, I use aloe vera gel, Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gel or olive oil. That’s about it. In my experience, leaving my hair alone is the best care for it.

Anything else you would like to share?

Follow me on twitter: @Hakim2633
Tumblr (Even though I’m rarely on there these days:
Lastly, check out a great magazine that I write for:

Thanks for joining us Hakim!

Do you have any additional suggestions of cleansing options to help keep Hakim’s scalp clean?


  • Anonymous says:

    very interesting post. We don't often hear about men and their insecurities. Your honesty is refreshing. And you look really handsome with dreds!!

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    I love locs on men. Especially when they are neat and smell good. Thanks for sharing your journey Hakim!


  • Anonymous says:

    @ Quaneasha, DC in da house! and that's true about the weed head thing. We have some brothers here that aren't weed heads but just don't take care of their dreads. They look sloppy, messy dirty…most of them looked liked they hopped out of bed and that's it. Hakim you're going to love the Shea Moisture products. I hope you have the shaving kit also that they have for the men ain't nothing like a man with a clean cut around the face, beautiful dreads, and smelling delicious, lol! Good luck!

  • DrChuck24 says:

    oooh loved this! It is soooo true. Most older folk I know attribute that 'if you dreds you are a weed head' notion. Thanks for sharing your story Hakim!

  • Quaneasha says:

    I'm from DC and most of our guys have locks. However, most of them fit the stereotype of weed heads! lol

    I love how you were able to face your insecurities head-on and now you are such a secure person. People do not realize just how superficial they are when it comes to the way they dress, act, etc. It's good to see people who are confident that people will like them for who they really are.

    I am really surprised by your interest in products! Most men, even natural ones, don't usually seem to be concerned with what they are putting on/in their hair/bodies. Kudos to you!

  • ~CurlyJ says:

    Hakim,you're right on point! Less is More!I don't have locs, but the less manipulation – the better! Congrats on not following the status quo! It looks good on you! Be blessed.


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