These boys are stepping out of the box and into the limelight with a classic protective style, box braids.
Shalwah Evans of Essence Magazine shares: Every weekend as I’m scrolling through my feed and Insta-stalking the celebrities and influencers that I fangirl for, I come across something interesting and inspiring in the beauty space. From jaw-dropping transformations to drool-inducing hair, there’s always something that I can’t stop staring at or watching, and it instantly garners a double-tap.
I’ve been intrigued by a photo that I came across, but noticed that every time I showed it to someone it was met with ambivalence. It’s a young man wearing knotted box braids and a fierce stare. But it’s the box braids that people seem to be unsure about. One on hand they say let him wear his hair however he wants. But on the other hand they think that the style is for the ladies. That’s the part that troubles me.
I’m an encourager of expressing yourself however you feel comfortable, even if it’s not the norm, and even if it makes others uncomfortable. And I’d like to think that we are past the point of considering certain hairstyles for men and other styles exclusively for women. We readily accepted Larenz Tate’s box braids when he played O-Dog in Menace II Society.
We also never seemed to mind when Snoop Doggy Dogg, DJ Quik, and other West Coast rappers and entertainers did their doobie wraps at night just like we did so that their blowouts were laid in the morning. Even today, rappers like A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott sport box braids with no criticism. Men in elaborate and decorative braids—cornrows, box braids, or otherwise—is not a new concept.