This tall brother with the peaceful expression is modeling one of the many different varieties of the rather unfortunately-named Mohawk hairstyle. Recently, I’ve seen several people wearing this ‘do, and it strikes me that here, in California, the Mohawk is a seasonal cut. The blood is a little thinner here and people are a little more sensitive to the cold; and so it makes perfect sense that some folks prefer to have more hair than less during the colder months. When summer comes, though, the shaved sides return. The 21st-century Black people’s version of this hairstyle, however, is quite different from the kind I grew up seeing. During my high school and college years (in the 1980s), this haircut was a statement of rebellion, and not the cute or stylish kind either. It was about making the people around you a little uncomfortable.
Today’s African American version is, like so much in today’s Black aesthetic, about being innovative and unexpected, but in ways that is also compelling and attractive. Today’s African American “Mohawk” is little more than a jazzed up version of the ever-popular high top fade. It goes with almost any profession and almost any style of wear, as is clear in this drawing. This guy was wearing a Dickies work shirt and pants and he appeared to be stopping at the grocery on his way home from lunch. His haircut was a wonderful accessory, but it didn’t really communicate the rage or rebellion of the punk rock 1980s.