Before and after pictures and the story here.
The Bieb’s experience highlights how the lines between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation can be blurry.
Here’s a helpful start in distinguishing between the two.
“Appreciation is when someone seeks to understand and learn about another culture in an effort to broaden their perspective and connect with others cross-culturally. Appropriation on the other hand, is simply taking one aspect of a culture that is not your own and using it for your own personal interest.”
The social media mob immediately decided Bieber was not broadening his perspective or connecting with others cross-culturally, instead he was using his dreads for his own personal interest.
However, even if that assumption was correct, a few minutes of research into the history of dreads would’ve muddied the water considerably:
“One account claims that dreadlocks originated in India (unlike most who cite Egypt as their birth place) with the dreadlocked diety Shiva and his followers. It is likely that this is the spirituality origin of dreadlocks in Indian culture. However, the first archeological proof of people wearing dreadlocks came from Egypt where mummies have been recovered with their dreadlocks still in tact.
Regardless of their origin, dreadlocks have been worn by nearly every culture at some point in time or another. Roman accounts stated that the Celts wore their hair ‘like snakes’. The Germanic tribes and Vikings were also known to wear their hair in dreadlocks. Dreadlocks have been worn by the monks of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Nazarites of Judiasm, Qalandri’s Sufi’s, the Sadhu’s of Hinduism, and the Dervishes of Islam, and many more! There are even strong suggestions that many early Christians wore dreadlocks; most notably Sampson who was said to have seven locks of hair which gave him his inhuman strength.” Source.
Which makes me wonder, why didn’t JB try to enlighten the mob with a similarly brief history lesson? It’s too bad he opted for hair clippers instead of the teachable moment.
Maybe I should take the baton and grow some dreads. I’ll report on my progress same time next decade.