1001 Black Men–#531




















Contrary to popular belief, dreadlocks can be a very high maintenance hairstyle. Whenever I see someone with beautiful locks, not only do I admire their hair, but I am also impressed by the level of effort that they are putting into maintaining that style. The Whole Foods in downtown Oakland seems to be a gathering place for people with amazing locks. This guy is just one of the many folks with well-groomed dreads who I’ve encountered there. Some days it’s like a hair show, with some of the most fabulous and creative natural Black hairstyles on view.

From time to time, I’ve heard people say that Black folks don’t shop at Whole Foods because its too expensive, it’s too far from Black neighborhoods, and it doesn’t sell the kinds of foods that African Americans like to eat. The reality of the Oakland and Berkeley Whole Foods stores, though, is that African Americans are some of their most frequent and faithful customers. The same is true of most of the other natural food stores in this area, as well as the farmer’s markets, and that’s a wonderful reflection on our East Bay Black community. This level of interest in natural foods will pay off down the road in less frequent diagnoses of diabetes, high blood pressure, and the other illnesses that afflict Black folks disproportionately.

Ajuan Mance




2 thoughts on “1001 Black Men–#531”

  1. I ‘m loving your project. This submission caused me to comment because the truth about natural hair and Whole Food Cuisine is so Bay Area. I see many wonderful natural hair lifestyle folks who are also committed to healthy real foods. As a community, we are recovering from some cuisine mis-steps. There are folks like Bryant Terry who are letting you know soul food is whole food.

    There is something sobering and gentle about this portrait. The warmth of the purple compliments all the emotion that is coming from his gaze.

  2. Hi Psalm,

    Thanks for writing. I must say that wearing natural hair changed my life, and I think this is one of the reasons that hair figures so prominently in my drawings of Black men (and Black women). I’m definitely going to have to read up on what Bryant Terry has to say. Soul food is, in fact, good for you when you do it right!

    So glad you like this image!

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