Author Discusses Experience Growing Dreadlocks & Male Identity
From the publisher: In TWISTED: My Dreadlock Chronicles, professor and author Bert Ashe delivers a witty, fascinating, and unprecedented account of black male identity as seen through our culture’s perceptions of hair. It is a deeply personal story that weaves together the cultural and political history of dreadlocks with Ashe’s own mid-life journey to lock his hair. Ashe is a fresh, new voice that addresses the importance of black hair in the 20th and 21st centuries through an accessible, humorous, and literary style sure to engage a wide variety of readers.
After leading a far-too-conventional life for forty years, Ashe began a long, arduous, uncertain process of locking his own hair in an attempt to step out of American convention. Black hair, after all, matters. Few Americans are subject to snap judgements like those in the African-American community, and fewer communities face such loaded criticism about their appearances, in particular their hair. Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles makes the argument that the story of dreadlocks in America can’t be told except in front of the backdrop of black hair in America.Bert Ashe, an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Richmond, teaches and writes about contemporary American culture, primarily post-Civil Rights Movement African American literature and culture (often referred to as “post-blackness” or the “post-soul aesthetic”), as well as the black vernacular triumvirate of black hair, basketball, and jazz.
His first book, From Within the Frame: Storytelling in African-American Fiction (Routledge, 2002) tracks the development of the African American “frame text,” from Charles Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman through John Edgar Wideman’s “Doc’s Story,” with chapters that focus on Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man along the way.