Why The “Grown-Ass Black Man With Cornrows” Is The Greatest Hairstyle Ever » VSB

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Why The “Grown-Ass Black Man With Cornrows” Is The Greatest Hairstyle Ever

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1. Because aside from being…

A) an inmate

B) a grip on a porno set

C) a gang member in LA (and only in LA)

D) a pimp in a randomly bizarre location like Sioux Falls, SD, Punxsutawney, PA, or Saturn

E) a light skinneded daytime TV star in a Tyler Perry movie

…there’s no valid reason for a grown-ass Black man to have cornrows in 2015. None whatsoever.

That said…

2. From Kawhi Leonard to “that guy who always comes in the barbershop to pass out flyers about all-white boat rides and next month’s Gemini cabaret at the Elks” every grown-ass Black man who still has cornrows is a grown-ass Black man who should still have cornrows. They don’t work for anyone else, but they work for the people who still have them, because the people who still have them are people who are supposed to still have them. It’s the world’s most self-aware hairstyle. It’s kinda like how no one should ever wear white oxfords and jean shorts to cookouts. Except for the type of people who wear white oxfords and jean shorts to cookouts.

3. Because Allen Iverson had a fade. Then a ceaser. Then, through the prime of his NBA career, various types of braids and cornrows. And then cut his hair when he reached 30. And then was so compelled by the cornrow that he went back to it.

Most other grown-ass Black men who still have cornrows have had them since the final season of Roc. Iverson, however, made a conscious decision to grow them back in his mid-30s after realizing a life without cornrows just wasn’t worth living. This type of connection means something, dammit.

4. Because plaits are to cornrows what Austin Rivers is to Cornel West. I know this doesn’t make any sense to you. But it’s not supposed to. Just like grown-ass Black men who still have cornrows.

5. Because Big Sean is a lie. The only people who truly, sincerely DGAF about you or anything that you do have cornrows. Big Sean does not have cornrows. Therefore, Big Sean is a lie.

6. Because both Esther Baxter and Melyssa Ford — the Martin and Malcolm of video vixens — went through the cornrow stage. And yes, I’m aware neither Esther Baxter or Melyssa Ford are grown-ass Black men. But…actually, I really have no buts. I just needed a reason to talk about Esther Baxter and Melyssa Ford.

7. Because, as anyone who’s ever hooped with a grown-ass Black man with cornrows before, all grown-ass Black men with cornrows have the exact same game. They shoot the same, they dribble the same, they pass the same, and they play d the same. Shit, they even somehow sweat the same. And there’s also at least a 20% likelihood they regularly hoop in butter Tims and Carhart jumpsuits.

8. Because every grown-ass Black man with cornrows is either named “James” or looks like his name should be “James.” And there could be worse names to look like it’s supposed to be your name. Trevor, for instance. Or Milton.

9. Because grown-ass Black men with cornrows always have character. They might have other things too. Ford Tahoes with expired stickers. Long toenails. Bally’s memberships. Syphilis. But they definitely always have character.

10. Because we all need someone with cornrows in our lives. Even if it’s just to always be tempted to ask them why they still have cornrows. Until, of course, they do something that makes you think “Ok. I get it now. You’re definitely still supposed to have cornrows.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Nick Peters

    One Rule: If Jim Jones doesn’t have cornrows then you shouldn’t either:

    This is coming from someone who got cornrows for the first time in 2007…2 years too late

    sidenote…FIFA is about to be broken down like the Mafia and I’m going to enjoy every second of it.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “FIFA is about to be broken down like the Mafia”

      Not gonna happen. The Empire will strike back.

      • Val

        Nah, they’re going down. The head guy might survive because he’s the mastermind but heads are going to roll.

        • Nick Peters

          I think someone snitches on him…

          Most of the people who were indited are in their 60s and 70s…they are all snitching…its cool to be the head until its time for people to avoid jail…and the worst place to die in the world is in a prison

          • Val

            Maybe but I’m pretty sure he’s already told them FIFA’s money is available to them for legal help and also they’ll (or their families) get more if they keep quiet.

            • Nick Peters

              if they keep quiet…they are going to jail…four of the indited people have already agreed to cooperate with the investigation

              • Val

                But, “cooperate” can mean a lot of things. I just think the head guy, from what I’ve heard, is too savvy to fall with the rest of them.

                • Nick Peters

                  cooperate means do anything to stay out of jail…
                  sidenote Logic is the next white rapper (Under Pressure)

                  • XYZ

                    Yep. “Cooperate” is what Ray Lewis did.

                  • Val

                    We shall see, Grasshopper.

            • That won’t happen. Too any people have snitched already. They can use them to roll the rest.

        • It doesn’t help that Vlad Putin is defending old boy. They need to go after the I.O.C next.

          • Val

            Oh yeah, the IOC is just as bad if not worse. All of these good ol boy organizations need to fall. And while they’re at it they need to bring down the NCAA.

            • I’m sure that’ll happen sooner or later.

            • arafat

              I’m waiting for the NCAA to go after that Michigan DB that was talking about not having enough to eat. Even with all the corrupt deal FIFA has NCAA is definitely the bigger villain, at least most futbol players get paid very well.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          There’s too much money, power, women, men, illegal pharmacuticals, etc. out there to be had..

    • KB

      Have you been keeping up with the stories of how the people building the stadiums for the world cup in Qatar have been treating the migrant workers from Nepal? I’m gonna need FIFA to step in on this.

      • Nick Peters

        FIFA took bribes from Qatar..so they are scared that if they change the World Cup…the bribers will snitch…why Sepp needs to fall….something like 4,000 people are projected to die

        • KB

          I watched a documentary on the workers. The conditions they keep them in are terrible.

        • Can I say it’s funny that one of the dudes caught up is named Jack Warner? I bet he starts wearing Warner Brother Stop Snitching shirt. LOL

      • miss t-lee

        And all the people who have died already?

        • KB

          I’ve heard it is in the thousands, with many more expected to die from the working conditions.

          • miss t-lee

            Indeed.
            I saw a chart yesterday comparing the deaths that have happened during all the other world cups…and they’ve in the lead by like 90 %.

            • KB

              Re-damn-diculous

              • miss t-lee

                I always wondered how they got that WC. Like who wants to go to the desert?
                Now all this news comes out and it makes sense.

    • arafat

      They need to break that behemoth up, FIFA has too much unrestricted and unquestioned power. I’m sure if they squeeze hard enough they’ll be able to get even the president.

    • All I have to say is that Americans ninjas have been hustling backwards in sports. Like wait… $110 million in bribes just for the Copa America? Imagine the paper in the World Cup…

      • Arafat

        I tell you, I saw somewhere that South Africa paid $10M to one guy to get his vote for their 2010 bid. I can only imagine how much Qatar paid out since according to rumor they were flying around handing out money like it was event flyers.

  • Cleojonz

    No. Just no. I need this to not be a thing anymore. When I see man of a certain age still in cornrows I can’t do anything but shake my head and judge. I can’t help myself. I just watched that Allen Iverson special on Showtime and I could not BELIEVE he still had them, and the doo-rag, and all the Jacob the Jeweler ice.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “I could not BELIEVE he still had them, and the doo-rag, and all the Jacob the Jeweler ice.”

      Those are the last of Allen’s worldly possessions.

      • Nick Peters

        He has to have something untill he gets the money he saved @ 50

        • Sigma_Since 93
          • Wow!!! I’ve said that if I ever gain a fortune I’m only bankrolling those who grew up in the house with me. Can’t go out like Hammer.

          • I think an understated mistake Iverson made was sticking to Reebok, as big as he was to the culture, ain’t nobody camping for some Question IIIs

          • h.h.h.

            Well actually….

            Though Iverson’s insolvency was assumed by many when that news broke last month, the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey, through “a person with a firm grip on the situation” reports that Iverson has an account worth $32 million that he cannot access until he turns 55 years old that feeds him $1 million annually.

            That account, Vecsey writes, was created by “(someone) who cared a great deal for Iverson and grasped the extent of his habits, loyalties and generosity.”

            When he turns 45, the 36-year-old Iverson will be eligible for an NBA pension that would pay him $8,000 a month, according to the Post. The longer he waits to tap into that, the greater the monthly payout would be.

            http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2012-03-02/allen-iverson-net-worth-philadelphia-76ers

            • amina

              If this is true, that warms my heart!

            • Val

              Have you seen the new AI documentary?

              • h.h.h.

                nah, i’m sure i’ll get around to it eventually

            • miss t-lee

              He’s set up smart.
              I can dig it.

    • HeyBooHey

      A.I. is holding onto that durag like it’s the last of its kind in all the earth. Brings me back to when he used to pop up on our campus so the masses would follow him like he was Moses. That was 12+ years ago. He’s gotta give it up smh

      • Nick Peters

        …and if he went back to Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute the same would happen again…he has to have something…

        • HeyBooHey

          Thanks for the shout out but Hampton University will suffice since you felt the need to name check it

        • This alumnus of Rutgers the State University of New Jersey asks you to cease the Hampton hate shenanigans.

          • Nick Peters

            My mo went to Howard, my god mom went to Howard, my brother went to Howard, I went to Howard….it is in my blood

            • Val

              Nice.

            • HeyBooHey

              Congrats and all that. Doesn’t mean you have to spew our name everytime you inhale though. We only care to bash Howard when it’s time for the HU/HU game & its subsequent events. Outside of that, nobody cares

    • Damon Young

      every day is throwback thursday for allen iverson. the rows, the jewelry, the super duper baggy jeans, all relics from 1999

    • AI will always look like 2002 even when he’s old and gray

    • CrayolaGirl

      I just watched that documentary too. I hit rewind at least two times to hear those people lying about the bowling alley brawl. I almost stop watching after that whole scenario played out on screen.

  • dadumdee

    Straight backs like Kawhi’s are the raw, uncut of cornrows. New growth, loose hairs, no line up. *kisses fingers…muah!* Come on son! Only the grownest of grown-ass Black man who still has cornrows do that. That’s also indicative of the realization that a life without cornrows just isn’t worth living. It’s like they’re compelled to have cornrows for some scientific reason yet to be discovered, but they just said f#$ck it to actually maintaining them.

    • Damon Young

      Straight backs like Kawhi’s are the raw, uncut of cornrows.

      this is true. like i said upthread, i don’t want him to cut his. because he’s supposed to have them

  • miss t-lee

    As a Spurs fan, I really hope Kawhi keeps the cornrows. I really think he might be like Samson.
    Plus, I love hearing everyone get amped over the fact that he still has them…lol
    As for us ladies, we can wear the style forever. We’ve been doing it, gonna continue to do it.
    btw, my Pops’ name is James…hahahha

    • Marcus Lattimore cut his off when he retired from the 49ers. He should do well at life now.

      • miss t-lee

        Indeed.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        He doesn’t even look like the same dude.

    • Yeah I think it works at least for branding, if Kawhi cut his hair I probably wouldn’t be able to differentiate him from 15 other n*ggas

      • miss t-lee

        So true.

    • Damon Young

      me too, actually.

    • KB

      I mean, do you expect a ninja named ‘Kawhi’ to rock anything other than cornrows?

      • miss t-lee

        Of course not.

    • Brandon Allen

      I think he should at least switch the rows up. Take em out from time to time let the fro flow

      • miss t-lee

        No.
        I don’t want Kawhi to mess with anything, might throw off his game.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    I can almost understand if you can’t find a barber that can’t cut a cesar but then I look at the line-ups of his teammates and throw that defense out of the window. Maybe Timmy and Co need to hold a cornrow intervention.

    • Damon Young

      hmm. to his credit, you don’t exactly see great barber work with the spurs players

      • Tim just now started getting tapers in year 18

  • Why some cats still rockin the ” I just got outta jail gray conrows” though. Chances are they’re driving a crown vic, with the original spoke wheels and a pair of lizard shoes on.

    • miss t-lee

      Guaranteed!

      • **pours white zinfandel for the ole heads with braids that ain’t here to read this….**

  • Barbie

    I lived in a condo above a hair salon and I would walk by the salon and see grown men getting their hair braided. And while a lot of them had long braids (no Pusha T) but still I would get so annoyed. I mean if you’re still rocking braids over the age of 20 but especially braids with designs you’re probably a d-boy and/or most likely all of your life choices are terrible.

    • miss t-lee

      The last time I was in the braid shop, there was a white dude in there getting cornrows.
      I was like…well, ok.

      • Riff Raff?!?!? #whitesprite

        • miss t-lee

          LOL!!!!

          • I still maintain that Riff Raff is a piece of extend performance art in the vein of Steven Segal or Vlad Putin.

            • miss t-lee

              You wanna think that, but he’s really the real deal…lol

        • cryssi

          My nephew literally described one of his friends as looking like Riff Raff…what middle schooler looks like Riff Raff? I told him his friend has nothing but crazy in his future. My nephew is the token black in most of his circles.

      • Damon Young

        i know we go back long time, but i do not believe you

        • miss t-lee

          I have no reason to lie Champie.
          I was so confused…lol

  • HeyBooHey

    Just had this discussion with the bew and I stand behind this with all of my might and the breath in my currently mucus-filled body – NO man over the age of 17 should have cornrows. Not none. And 17 is pushing it but most boys that age are still trying to find their way in the world so they’re allowed not to know no good. Once you hit 18, you gotta find a barber or steady-handed individual and do away with them thangs

    • TeeChantel

      I always said no man over the age of 25 should have cornrows. You won’t be taken seriously. Now that I think about it, 17 sounds like a good age.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    Still works for some dudes but it wouldn’t be missed if it left. But when you look like Shemar Moore in Diary Of a Mad Black Woman….then bring out the gulliotine. We got hairstylists who can twerk and do designs at the same time…can’t be worth millions of dollars and not have a single zig zag on your braids.

    • Damon Young

      We got hairstylists who can twerk and do designs at the same time

      this is both completely irrelevant and completely relevant.

  • KB

    Thankful I had the strength not to give into the conrow craze of the early 2000s. That and the thought of having the excessive amount of hair necessary for cornrows (with sufficient hang-time) annoyed me. Been rocking the fade/Caesar consistently since 95.

    • My head is way too large to have even considered trying the cornrow move.

      • KB

        I just cant stand the thought of a bunch of hair on my head. If I go longer than 2-3 weeks without a haircut I get antsy, tense, and irritable. I need a low haircut and clean shaven face. This is also why I have tried unsuccessfully, numerous times to join the beard-gang movement.

        • I rocked a Caesar until I shaved it all off in ’07. H888 with all of that maintenance.

        • Barbie

          I can’t date a dude who doesn’t keep a fresh hair cut. If you show up without a fresh hair cut there’s no me and you forever, we just don’t share the same values.

          • Damon Young

            tell us how you really feel

    • Sigma_Since 93

      My love of waves combined with the lack of C suite executives rocking cornrows kept me faded and my barber well paid.

      • KB

        I have seriously fallen off on my wave game. I will be getting them back asap.

    • Aside from that one year I grew my hair, it’s been a regular 1 1/2 for most of my life

    • Damon Young

      “Thankful I had the strength not to give into the conrow craze of the early 2000s.”

      it always just looked like too much work for me. plus, my head is big enough already. no need to add extra inches.

      (pause?)

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