“Yuh cyaan guh out an a glance suh,” or, in normal English, “You may’t exit wanting like that.” That is one among many issues my cousin and I’ve stated to 1 one other whereas on the point of hit the city. And whereas your ‘match must be on level for a celebration, as Jamaicans, we all know that hair is the whole lot. It’s a part of what defines us, an extension of our particular person identities. Our favourite style of music to listen to after we exit is dancehall, which first rose to prominence in Jamaica throughout the 1970s.

We could also be just a little biased: Not solely is the style host to a slew of Jamaican expertise however inside the bigger cultural motion, yow will discover a few of the most numerous and eclectic private fashion selections. Very like hip-hop music, which itself has Jamaican roots, fashion aesthetics are as a lot part of dancehall tradition because the music and dancing that goes with it.

One solely must look to probably the most iconic music video in dancehall historical past, Chaka Demus & Pliers’s “Homicide She Wrote” to see unique dancehall queen Carlene Smith sporting a curled, platinum blonde, shoulder-length wig. After all, it’s by no means “simply hair” in dancehall. It’s a part of the way you’re remembered as each an artist and a person. I imply, we might neglect a great efficiency, however we’ll always remember a coiffure — whether or not it is horrible or unbelievable.

Followers of dancehall are effectively conscious of how the tastemakers’ private fashion impacts the style’s followers. Earlier than being imprisoned, dancehall king Vybz Kartel infamously began bleaching his pores and skin to make it lighter. A lot of his followers adopted go well with, to the vociferous dismay of many others — a testomony to how one artist’s private aesthetic selections can have such a far-reaching impression.

Dancehall artist Elephant Man performing in 2005

John Ricard

Although all the catalog of dancehall music consists of artists who’ve included daring hairstyles and colours as a part of their signature look (who can neglect the half-red, half-yellow dye job Elephant Man sported for years?), these 4 standouts are setting the tempo for hair developments in dancehall at present. Learn on to see how Popcaan, Spice, Shenseea, and Alkaline are all serving to to vary the sport.




Popcaan (who the unfamiliar may acknowledge because the artist who appeared on the higher model of Drake’s “Controlla,”) has been dubbed a pure hair icon by some followers for good motive. He is identified for sporting an assortment of various hairstyles — in case you can think about it, the artist has most likely finished it.

Up in a excessive puff; a stretched, brushed-out ‘fro within the form of a flame; and a number of braids protruding à la Coolio. He is even rocked a model of one among this season’s hottest pure hair-trends: the puff pony. Nonetheless, as an alternative of only one massive ponytail sectioned off into puffs with rubber bands, he is divided his hair into a number of smaller ones, full with inexperienced, crimson, and yellow elastics. We stan a flexible king.


VH1's Hip Hop Honors: The 90's Game Changers - Arrivals

Greg Doherty

How may we speak about hair with out together with Grace “Spice” Hamilton within the dialog? The dancehall diva is an OG of the style and kills each efficiency along with her dazzling, form-fitting bodysuits. Her look, nonetheless, is incomplete with out one among her show-stopping wigs. Dubbed “the fashion-forward queen of dancehall” by Vogue final 12 months, she vies in the direction of defending her title with each new look.

Although the artist and Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta star is a fan of wigs in just about any shade of blue (it is because of this her followers are known as Smurfettes), she’s by no means shied away from dabbling into different eclectic types together with bone-straight, 32” highlighter-green hair; crimped, aquamarine hair with inexperienced suggestions](https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi1_MySAWJP/?taken-by=spiceofficial); or any of her pastel or neon-colored bobs.

Most notably, the artist headlined efficiency throughout Reggae Sumfest this 12 months that was themed after Black Panther. Her inventive route included a bodysuit that likened the one worn by Dora Milaje and sporting her pure hair. The a number of methods wherein Spice has been switching up her hair over time is sufficient to even make the heads of colorful-wig aficionados — like Kylie Jenner, Blac Chyna, and Katy Perry — spin.


If there’s a dancehall artist who is aware of a factor or two about private fashion, it’s Alkaline. When he first arrived on the scene, he made one thing of a surprising debut with a pair of black eyeballs — critically, no whites have been exhibiting. When requested about his actually eye-popping ink throughout an interview, the artist talked about that his tattooed eyes “damage, however ache is short-term.”

On his 22nd birthday, Alkaline uploaded a photograph of himself with the whites in his eyes lastly making an look. It was then that followers realized that his eyes have been, in actual fact, not tattooed, however as an alternative a pair of contacts. Phew. Now that the world has gotten to the underside of the thriller of his black eyeballs, Alkaline started to play extra with hair coloration.

The artist started sporting platinum blonde, shoulder-length loc extensions. The brand new ‘do solely lasted a couple of months earlier than he shed the colourful search for his personal pure hue. His locs are perpetually crisp and manicured, generally twisted collectively — one other apparent aesthetic proclivity. Although it was short-lived, the platinum blonde extensions have been a means for the artist to re-invent himself and showcase his continually-evolving private fashion.


Shenseea is one among dancehall’s latest princesses, and he or she’s already proven that she just isn’t scared to change up her look as incessantly as attainable. Whereas Spice is thought for her in-your-face coloured wigs, Shenseea’s private fashion is extra of a combined bag. The artist is simply as inclined to rock black, stick-straight, mile-long Cher hair as she is a unicorn-hued topper. Again in September, she popped up on many a dancehall fanatic’s timelines, sporting a mermaid-esque, rainbow-colored wig.

A curled platinum blonde wig noticed its means onto the BET Expertise stage in June, whereas straight, 30” thigh-length neon yellow straight fashion was her selection fashion for the “Exhausting Drive” video, which debuted the identical month. Appears like Shenseea was already rocking one among fall 2018’s hottest colours earlier than it formally turned a factor.

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