My Hair Was More Famous Than Me – Ade Bantu

Adekoya Odukoya popularly known as Ade Bantu known is easily identified with his trademark dreadlocks which he carried for 23 years. Now spotting a new look after cutting his dreadlocks, he spoke with New telegraph on why he chopped off is trademark.

Excerpt from the interview:

Ade 1


Why did you decide to cut off your dreadlocks after many years?

I wore my dreads for 23 years and it was an important part of my story. I wore dreads to be identified with the African liberation movements. I wore it as a political statement and also to remind us of whom we are. I think it is an element of our colonial legacy that I have a big problem with.

They would tell you that an unkempt hair is not nice or fashionable, but our culture was never like that. If you look at the Yoruba history, you will know that ‘Dada’ was a brother of ‘Sango.’ There are connections that we don’t make anymore because we’ve been brainwashed by the white people who used appearance to subjugate us. So, the dreads were part of trying to re-educate myself and my people. I kept the hair because I felt it was important then, but at some points I just felt it had served its purpose and I wasn’t also comfortable with the idea of it being tagged my brand. It was just time to let go and move on.

How did people react to your new identity?

I realised that my hair was even more famous than me. It trended on the internet when I removed it. I put a private picture on facebook and it was everywhere. I visited family in Europe and someone called me that my photo was all over the internet. I found that quite hilarious because it was superficial, though it has also influenced some people that I know personally to remove their dreads.

So, it is interesting to see such influence in a very humble way. But I missed my hair because it was like cutting off a part of me after 23 years. Because of the dreads I was arrested, people refused to shake me and family members were ashamed of me, but overtime it became part of me.

My family just wanted to protect me, they don’t want me to go outside and people start talking to me in a hurtful or disrespectful way. So, they voiced their concern and I think it came from a place of love. I wore them proudly just like I wore my colour proudly.