I remember being 21 years old and deciding to loc my hair. It was a journey I had been down at least four times before, each time uncoiling them because I was not ready. I remember consulting friends and family, asking them their thoughts.
“Don’t do that.”
“What about the “ugly” stage?”
“Why do you want to wear your hair nappy? “
Back then, there was virtually no support for loc’d naturals. That was over five years ago. Since then, the loc industry has boomed. Now you see people with locs of every shade, length, and texture. The culture of locs are now being celebrated and appreciated. The United States military just recently lifted their ban on soliders being able to enter service with Loc’d hair. A large part of that acceptance is due to individuals like Ele Jane, creator of LocLivin. Ele Jane was one of the first to create an entire brand dedicated to appreciating the beauty of Dread Locs.
Ele Jane, Creator of LocLivin
Black Moms Blog: Hi Ele. Thank you so much for sitting down with us today for this interview. I have to admit, I have been really excited to talk with you. You are such an inspiration in the natural hair community, specifically in the Loc community. What started you on this mission to bring awareness to the beauty of Locs?
Ele Jane: I have been natural for over 7 years and in that timeframe I had the pleasure to participate and attend several natural hair events. As time went on I noticed that locs for some odd reason were not celebrated as much as fros and curly big hair- as if locs were not a part of the “New” natural hair movement. I wanted to start my loc journey but there was little to no inspiration and knowledge. There were only a few Loc inspired social media pages and Youtube channels at the time. I searched the internet but not many images that I could relate to appeared. About 7 months into my journey I decided to start celebrating and sharing other beautiful loc’d naturals photos and journeys with the hopes that others would be inspired to start and embrace their Loc journey.
I also wanted to show the world how beautiful locs were, how versatile they could be, the beautiful people who rock them, and their positive lifestyle.
BMB: When you began Loc Livin, did you expect for it to grow in popularity in the way that it has?
EJ: No, I never imagined for it to grow this big! It amazes me everyday and confirms that this is much needed in the natural hair community.
BMB: Does LocLivin only celebrate locs in the Black culture or do you celebrate all people with Locs?
EJ: In the beginning of growing Loc Livin I celebrated everyone….black, white and other cultures because I felt pressured to celebrate people other than black people. If I was to only feature and celebrate black people with Locs then I was considered to be discriminatory in the minds of others.
I love all people of all walks of life. The color of your skin should not matter. It is the character of your heart.
I am fully aware that anyone can loc their hair, that Locs do not exclusively belong to Black people- that everyone has the right to their own journey.
BMB: I love the way you have expanded and grown your business into loc apparel and different events around Atlanta. Do you have any plans to travel or tour with Loclivin?
EJ: Yes, I do have plans to travel outside the United States in 2016. I am working on tour dates as we speak.
BMB: You have 3 sons correct?
EJ: Yes, I do. My oldest is 17 and working which makes mommy very happy. A soon to be 14 year old and my cool little dude who is 7. He said he is an alien and has been teleported to earth because his planet was destroyed…haha! I also have a daughter who 11. She is such a sweetheart.
BMB: How do they feel about your business and have they considered growing Locs?
EJ: My business is my heart’s joy- one of many joyful accomplishments. I always wanted to start a movement that uplifted and inspired the human spirit. My children love Loc Livin! They have attended and helped at every event. My children are my biggest supporters. I love when my youngest makes me homemade cards with the Loc Livin logo…too cute. My daughter had locs but recently took them out. My oldest son thought about it but never took that jump. My middle and younger son said no!
BMB: I know a large part of Loc Livin is to bring awareness to the beauty of dread locs but we also know how they can be perceived by the world, especially in corporate settings. Do you worry about your sons, as young black men being stereotyped by how they wear their hair?
EJ: Honestly no.It is not their hair but the color of their skin that worries me. History is currently repeating itself. My oldest son will be graduating high school and soon entering the world on his on.
Everyday I talk to him, all of them, about being black today. I do my best to prepare them for a world that still sees them as a threat. It is sad but it is reality.
BMB: I know as a woman, I immediately noticed the difference in attraction I got from men with my hair loc’d versus when I would wear it loose. How did your husband feel about your loc process and was he supportive of you starting Loclivin?
EJ: My husband is so laid back and very supportive. He loves my Locs and always told me to do what makes me happy. He has also been very supportive of Loc Livin. He gives me great business advice and ideas. He massages my temples when I began to over think…he tells me to relax, that everything is going to fall in my favor. I love my husband. He is truly a beautiful blessing.
BMB: Having my hair loc’d as a mom has been so beneficial to me. It allows me to enjoy all activities with my daughter without worrying about sweating out my hair and takes time out of worrying about styling my hair for the day. In the past, I have considered loc’ing her hair. What are your suggestions for parents who are thinking about loc’ing their children’s hair before the child is old enough to make that decision for themselves?
EJ: My advice is to do what you think is best. I started my daughter’s Locs at 9 1/2 and she restarted her journey 4 times in a year. Had I loc’d her hair when she was younger she would probably have a greater appreciation for them. She just recently unloc’d her hair but she loves her natural fro.
BMB: What is your advice for naturals wanting to begin their loc journey?
EJ: Just do it, embrace it, love it, and have patience with it! As time has went on many beautiful black loc’d naturals have told me how exciting it is to see them celebrated and how they can relate to many of the beautiful photos and journeys of other beautiful loc’d naturals. I always hear that this is much needed in our community.
To see other beautiful loc’d naturals happy, inspired, and beginning to embrace their loc journey brought joy to my world. It confirms that I was on the right path. That celebrating and embracing black people with Locs was truly needed.
I am personally tired of feeling guilty of celebrating a culture other than the white culture. There are so many other movements and social media pages that celebrate their own culture without being ridiculed. I just want to simply celebrate, uplift and inspire beautiful people of color. I am in love with my culture and I want to celebrate and embrace my culture unapologetically. It has always been my passion since I was a little girl to do so. I do feature and celebrate other cultures from time to time because I believe that balance and knowledge is needed. My heart welcomes all. Again I say everyone has a right to their own journey.
BMB: Where can people find you?
You can also shop our apparel at www.loclivinmarketplace.com.