Allen Iverson cuts his hair. Could it be true? The famous cornrows are gone? Yes, yes and yes. Indeed, when Allen Iverson cuts his hair, it makes the headlines. That’s how closely associated cornrow braids have been with Detroit Pistons guard Allen Iverson.
Allen Iverson Cuts His Hair: A brief History of Cornrows
When Allen Iverson sported cornrow braids, he was in a sense paying homage to his ancestors, for the cornrow hairstyle originated in Africa. Historians believe that the hairstyle dates back as far as 500 B.C., in fact. Various styles served to transmit a variety of attributes, including social status, age, and religious affiliation.
The cornrow braid hairstyle survived the ravages of slavery in America. Maintaining the hairstyle was one of the few ways that slaves could remember and celebrate their native culture’s rich traditions. The cornrow styles that black slaves fashioned were an amalgamation of African, European and Native American hairstyle trends. And, interestingly, among some runaway slaves, flamboyant cornrow styles were worn as blatant acts of defiance.
After the Civil War, more and more African Americans began to straighten their hair. Among black children, though, the cornrow style remained a place where the tradition was enthusiastically continued. Oftentimes, in fact, little girls would get their first cornrow braids while sitting at the knees of their grandmothers.
Allen Iverson Cuts off his Cornrows: Whatever Happened to Cicely Tyson?
When Allen Iverson first decided to rock cornrows, he may have been indirectly influenced by actress Cicely Tyson. Back in 1963, she wore cornrows while she co-starred in the television drama “East Side/West Side” with George C. Scott and Elisabeth Wilson. Arguably, it was Cicely Tyson who helped kick off the “Black is Beautiful” movement in America during the late 60s and early 70s, which was a time when black women began to eschew hair straightening in favor of more “natural” styles.
You may recall that cornrows were at one time also popular among caucasians. Who, for example, could forget the lovely Bo Derek, who, in the move “10” looked ravishing in her beaded cornrows.
Allen Iverson Cuts His Hair: Was it due to Homophobia?
According to Wikipedia, in Nigeria when a man wears cornrow braids it is allegedly a sign that he is a homosexual. Could that be the reason Allen Iverson decided to lose the cornrows? As Fats Waller once said, “One never knows, do one?” More than likely, though, Allen Iverson cut his hair because he got tired of it.
Allen Iverson has cut his hair, adjust your plans accordingly, Kyle Koster, Chicago Sun Times, February 14, 2009
History of Cornrow Braiding, csdt.rpi.edu