Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bob Marley, Black Uhuru, & Ziggy Marley - Songs About Natty Dreadlocks

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases three videos & one sound file of songs that include the phrases "natty dread" or "natty dreadlock". This post also includes information about the meaning of the terms "natty dread" and "natty dreadlock" as well as information about the history & significance of the dreadlock hairstyle.

The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes. The copyrights remain with their owners.

My thanks to the composers, vocalists, and musicians who performed this music. My thanks also to the producers and uploaders of these videos & sound file, as well as the authors of the quoted information.

Video #1: Bob Marley - Natty Dread

Uploaded by nixthethalo on Aug 20, 2008

"Natty Dread captures Bob Marley's decisive transition from Wailers band member to auteur... his singing and writing now front and center, and the revamped band securely reined in to his defiant, Rastafarian worldview...; [1975]
Click for information about the song "Natty Dread."

Video #2:♫ ♕ Bob Marley ♕ Natty Dread Dortmund Live 1980 HD ♫

Uploaded by maurittos on May 4, 2011

♕ Bob Marley ♕

♫ King Of Reggae ♕ Bob Marley ♕ The Wailers Natty Dread Dortmund Live 1980 HD ♫

Video #3: Black Uhuru - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner [12'' Version]

Uploaded by RastaChaka on May 16, 2009

"Recorded in Kingston,JA
12"single,B-side of "Sinsemilla," released 1980
Produced and arranged by Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespear".

Click for information about the Reggae group "Black Uhuru". [Note: The word "uhuru" is Swahili for "freedom".]
The title of this Reggae song is a reference to the 1967 American movie "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner". "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" was the first American movie to positively portray interracial marriage. Click's_Coming_to_Dinner for information about that movie.

Video #4: Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers - Natty Dread - Central Park New York 1996

Uploaded by hemi2k6 on Feb 20, 2009
"Ziggy Marley is the oldest son of famed reggae musician Bob Marley". Click for more information about Ziggy Marley


Natty, Natty Dread, Natty Congo:
1. dreadlocks 2. a person with dreadlocks

Natty Dreadlocks (synonyms "Natty Dread", "Natty", "Dready" or "Dread") is a Rastafarian term used to describe a member of the Rastafari community. The term is often used in reggae music and elsewhere to represent an idealised personification of the Rastafari movement as a whole. It combines the term "natty", which means knotted (from knotty), a characteristic of the Rastafarian hair style, "dreadlocks".

originating from rastafarian culture. meaning 'good',' cool' and most importantly, 'elite'.

"hey, natty dreads mon"
- :D ; Mar 30, 2003

The Jamaican patois word "natty" may also include the English meaning for the word "natty" - "elegant", "dapper".

"History of Dreadlocks
Dreadlocks are not unique to Jamaica and Rastafarians. The dreadlocks hairstyle originated in Africa and was worn by various tribes there. The earliest tribe this hairstyle can be attributed to is the Masai tribesmen of Kenya. Many of the warriors of this tribe wore this hairstyle. These men sometimes dyed their hair red with root extracts.

Dreadlocks in Jamaica
The dreadlocks hairstyle first appeared in Jamaica during post emancipation. It was a means of defiance for ex-slaves to rebel against Euro-centrism that was forced on them. The hairstyle was originally referred to as a "dreadful" hairstyle by the Euro centric Jamaican society. It later evolved to the term now used: Dreadlocks. Jamaicans also use the term Natty Dreadlock

Dreadlocks and Rastafari
Rastafarians grow their hair into dreadlocks because it is a part of the Nazarite Vow. (Also their dietary rules are part of the law) All Rastafarians take this vow and claim it is commanded by the Bible (Leviticus 21:5 "They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard nor make any cuttings in their flesh")."
That article further states that the dreadlock hairstyle is tied to the Biblical story about Samson who grew weak because his hair was cut. In addition, this article indicates that dreadlocks are associated with the lion's mane, and symbolizes the kingship of the lion over other animals. Also, the lion's mane symbolizes Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia (ruled 1930–1974). In part this is because Haile Selassie I had a number of lions as pets, but it is also because Haile Selassie I was and is worshipped by most Rastafarians as God incarnate, the Second Advent, or the reincarnation of Jesus.
It should be noted that while wide "afros" are traditional worn in Ethiopia, dreadlocks aren't a traditional hairstyle among males or females in Ethiopia.

Click Natty Dreads for a link to a discussion thread that I started in 2007 includes the lyrics to Bob Marley's song "Natty Dreads". That discussion thread includes information about the etymology of the word "natty" and also includes information about the word "nappy" (because of my initial mistaken belief that "natty" was a Jamaican way of saying "nappy"). That thread was started because of the controversy over radio host Don Imus' infamous comment about "nappy headed hos" and therefore includes comments about the afro hairstyle.

** Videos of African American Males (Music & Natural Hairstyles), Part 3
This post features videos of African American male music performers with braids, cornrows, or dreadlocks.

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