By Jor-El of Mane Man
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.
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.
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?
Thanks for joining us Hakim!