Trailer for work-in-progress dreadlocks documentary ‘Dreads’. http://igg.me/at/dreads/x/2998473
People tend to feel very passionately about dreadlocks – one way or the other. But does anyone know where they come from?
Elijah MC, who is 31 and has had dreadlocks since he was 19, goes on a quest to find out how a symbol of holiness for the Masaai warriors of Africa and the Sadhus of India has come to be seen variously as a mark of Rastafarianism, a fashion statement or the result of uncleanliness. He is hoping to put the record straight.
Running a social media site called ‘Dreads UK’, Elijah is privy to the discussions between its members. His experience is that – like him – most people with dreadlocks see them as a statement of individuality. It is clear that they all have a strong emotional bond to their dreads but do they know where they came from, beyond Bob Marley and Jamaica?
Elijah visits two very different music festivals to canvas opinions. The first is Glyndebourne opera festival, where dreadlocks are not held in high esteem. He also attends a reggae festival, which obviously produces very opposing views. But remarkably both groups are ignorant of the origins of dreadlocks.
He then goes on to trace the spread and origin of dreadlocks, starting with their multiple birthplaces in India, South America and Africa, following their journey through slavery to the Caribbean, their passage to the Western world as a cultural export and their denigration throughout the 20th century.
Elijah will cross four continents, meet many colourful characters and ultimately be forced to question his own reasons for getting dreadlocks.