The other day I pondered aloud to my friend Brian, “Haile Selassie didn’t have dreadlocks, so why do Rastafarians have them?”
The next day I was reading an interview with Michael Wilson, a former Rastafarian who had become a Christian, in the ‘Road to Emmaus’ magazine when I read these words:
Dreadlocks were first introduced to Jamaica from a National Geographic photo of an Ethiopian Coptic monk with dreads who had come from his monastery down to the city to preach the Gospel. So, in 1930’s Jamaica, when people saw this picture of a monk with his Bible, his staff, and his dreadlocks, they began doing the same things that we came to as Rastas in the 70’s — growing their dreads, reading their Bibles. They could see there was something real in these pictures and they tried to reach it by copying what they saw, just as I did fifty years later.