Just like women who change their appearance often with the seasons and sometimes moods, men also change theirs now and then. There are so many different hairstyles and looks to experiment with and recently males have been growing out their hair. The question is, how is it received by society? Do women like this new way of men wearing long tresses? Do they receive backlash or criticism for opting to wear their hair long?
It is not a secret that men with long hair stand out in the crowd and with their own reasons to wear their hair long tells their own story and an even more interesting journey. They are very courageous and while they turn heads, they do so with confidence.
“My boyfriend has long hair and I love it.. I think long hair is really a sign of confidence for a guy. He’s comfortable enough saying ‘yea, I have long hair’.” – Female in a vox prop interview.
However, society has their own reservations about men with long manes, where they are seen as rebels, unconventional, mysterious, vivacious, disorganized, attention-seekers, free-spirits, show-offs or pretty boys reluctant to conform to society norms. The reactions are mixed as some people like it and others don’t; and of course you have the envious souls who don’t think kindly of seeing a man with longer hair than themselves thus it’s not easy accepting this. While some women like long hair, the majority of women seemingly like short hair as they admit that long hair on males look messy, crazy, unattractive, feminine, girly, less clean, nappy, and unkempt.
“Short hair definitely, or long hair if it’s not longer than mine.. It just looks a little feminine… I could be walking and say ‘she has really nice hair’ and then find out it’s a guy.” – Female in a vox prop interview
Let’s face it, it is not customary for males to wear their hair long, for many reasons, but these gentlemen like Youtube’s Curly Guy and Terell McDonald among others have pushed all the barriers, but two men in particular have shut down the taboos of society yet again, to prove that anything is possible and long hair on men can actually look unapologetically great. These men are Giovanni Ferrer and Benny Harlem.
“With my hair, I’ve been growing it from a little kid and I’ve been getting negative comments from I was seven. It used to bother me back then but now that I’m older I’ve gotten used to it so it doesn’t affect me… How I deal with negativity is that I look at it as not everyone is going to like you and that’s how the world works so why would I get upset because of negative people, I’m not a negative person so I won’t let it affect me.”- Giovanni.
From Alexandria, Virginia, this American aspiring model with the tresses of a God has been causing much eruption on social media in as little as a year. Born to Black mother and Filipino father, he likes to play basketball and dance and above all else loves to model. He has been dedicated 100 percent to pursuing a modelling career; he wishes to become a model in the future as he has always had a passion for modelling ever since he walked in his first fashion show:
“Just go out there and look nice and don’t say a word, who doesn’t like to do and get paid while doing it. It’s like a dream job.” – Giovanni
“Don’t give up, you’re gonna get so many no’s. Keep going, keep trying, you will get knocked out so many times but you gotta get up and take the no and turn it into a yes. The one time you get the yes I will tell you it’s worth it. Everything is worth the wait so keep pursuing your passion and never give up.” – Giovanni
Stay tuned for more on Giovanni as we all will soon catch on to this long-haired gentleman who the world will fall in love with.
“Health is my lifestyle. I believe that being healthy mind, body and spirit allows my hair to reach beyond its peak. I maintain a very clean diet and I drink a ton of water both very important factors in the longevity of healthy hair.” – Benny Harlem
The name is not yet familiar to some, but soon enough there is a feeling that it will take off as Harlem has been trending and viral on social media ever since the debut in 2015 of his incredible photographs on his Instagram account with his daughter.
Interviewed by media giants like the Huffington Post, Metro UK, Paper Magazine, among others, Harlem has been taking the world by storm with his modelling and positive attitude as a man with long hair who is simply redefining black masculinity.
“I really don’t know when it started. I guess every picture that was of her and I generated a little buzz. People were relating to it, saying “Oh my gosh, it makes me miss my father more” or “I want a father figure or it makes me think of my dad. Let me call my dad.” I started seeing a lot of that, but as far as it going viral, I couldn’t tell you really. There’s a photo of when we were on the beach and Jaxyn kissed my forehead. That’s something that she does every morning, really [but that photo went crazy].” – Benny Harlem in an interview with The Paper Magazine.
He was born in New York and now resides in Los Angeles with his family. He is a musician and model but his greatest job is husband to a wonderful wife and father to his beautiful daughter Jaxyn. He creates his own shampoo and hair products for his family’s hair which comprises of castor oil, coconuts, berries and other natural goodies. He also cares for his self-image and ensures that he maintains a healthy diet. He used to wear his hair short then he decided to start growing out his hair; eventually, it grew into his personality and a way to express himself through his own unique look.
“My hair journey began at a very young age, simultaneous with the growth in my life. I am an Artist and I will continue to flow in creativity when it comes to my personal style. The sky is truly the limit!” – Benny Harlem.
There was no real message or support in men growing their hair, but his spirituality interceded and gave him the push he needed to grow his hair out at age fifteen. With that big step he noticed other men following suit and back in the 70’s and 80’s men wore their hair long without much of a problem.
“I see black men doing a lot with their hair and it’s incredible, whether it’s the braids or the Kendrick Lamar situation. I don’t think the movement of men growing their hair is as big as it can be, but I’m hoping more men will find pride in growing their hair out and wearing it as a crown of glory. You look in the mirror and you see your crown. For me, I look in the mirror every single morning, especially when my hair is up in the crown box type of style. It reminds me to stand firm in who I am and go out there. So I wear it proudly.” – Benny Harlem.
He has gotten a lot of attention for the way he looks from persons across the world as it is not the look of the typical black male. However, he is fine with not wanting to look like the everyday black guy and he stands proud in his own skin, nappy hair and his whole appearance.
“I love the fact that I am who I am. Many men who look the way I look don’t get the platform that I’ve been blessed with to showcase it. I also hope I’m one of the ones who stands firm in my looks, as an artist, as a man, as a father, and so help other men come out unapologetically, with their hair and everything. I shouldn’t look the way Wall Street wants me to look. I should look like how I feel inside.” – Benny Harlem
He does not let others in society hinder what he promotes as an individual, all which is positive and spiritual, even with criticisms about his hair and both genders envy his hair on social media.
“I can’t take myself too seriously. You’re really doing yourself an injustice if you take yourself too seriously. A lot of the memes are funny to me. I show my baby. Even she is like, “Well daddy your hair kind of does look like a makeup brush.” So, I really have to laugh. We laugh together.” – Benny Harlem
He decided to ignore the remarks which do not bring him growth (no pun intended) and continue charting his path for himself and his family. He receives mixed reactions, but ultimately, it is a lot of love. He finds that he has to take everything as it comes and keep moving through life.
“Like I said, I get a lot of love, I get a lot of hate. Even in that hate, we have to stay firm in loving ourselves, loving who we are, loving where we come from, loving our roots, loving the way that we look. I believe everybody should love who they are. Love thyself and love everyone around you. Love yourself first.” – Benny Harlem with the Paper Magazine.
With over three-hundred thousand followers, Harlem has been a beacon of hope for many – be it hair gurus, admirers, supporters, well-wishers, or those in need of a mentor or inspiration – he has been a role model for the naturalistas, those starting a family, and fathers to their daughters across the world.
“I am a reflection of what God created a man to be. I love myself and appreciate where I come from. I believe that staying true to that will take me to where I will go.” – Benny Harlem in an interview with the Huffington Post.
By Alexandra Daley