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  • Writer's pictureDé Bryant, Ph.D.

Part II: Locs are my secret identity.

Ok. We've all had them. Those days which begin in negotiations with the hair. In my experience, this bit of diplomacy is protracted and, ultimately, futile. My hair is twisted into sisterlocs that have been growing since the late '80s. At 38", they are almost as long as I am tall. (I am 4'9". I can see you doing the math!) Locs, spelled L-O-C-S, are a statement: racial solidarity, political stance, fashion forward, or simple convenience. Their meaning in any given moment depends on the context, my intention, and quite often, on the observer's interpretations.

My locs are independent thinkers. They are wiry and strong; some days resisting any attempts to style or direct them. They routinely arrive in a room ten minutes before I do and hijack conversation. Attempts to identify me, either in my professional capacity or in social settings, often begin with the words, "You know, that little Black woman with the braids down to her knees…" Apparently, my locs do not suffer in the least from mistaken identity. 

A Black woman holding her locs
My locs tell the story of my inner strength, a united front for my truth.

They acquired a secret identity on my recent trip to Japan. One student traveling with me created a pencil drawing of my superhero alter ego. Given their tendency to upstage me at will this other-me, champion of justice and truth, wields the power of sentient locs. 

Picture this. It's an ordinary day, another lecture prepared, the last meeting attended. My locs are hanging quietly down my back, moving only when I do and according to the known laws of physics. Then, suddenly, they whipsaw above my right shoulder, Warriors for Truth moving as one. 

What foul deed alerted them? How will they right the wrong or protect the innocent or mete out justice?

I am Dé Bryant. My locs don't have a name but they clearly have earned one. Wonder what they would call themselves…

[cue super hero theme song   ]


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