Great Curls in Pop Culture

Jefe’s homie, Jabu, posted a Better Curls War on his Facebook page last week.  There were spirited debates over who wore it better.  Through six rounds of fierce competition, Pinky from Next Friday won.  He beat out a stellar list of contestants that included: AC Green, Stoney Jackson, Luther (Lufa) Vandross, Turbo from Breakin‘, Jheri Curl from Hollywood Shuffle, Sho’Nuff  (if you don’t know then I feel sorry for you), and of course, Darryl from Coming to America; “Just let your soooooooooul gloooooow.”

Jefe is going to take a closer look at some of these and other hair visionaries and pay tribute as only Jefe can.  As a matter of fact, Jefe just thought of a new word for these men of curl: curleros.  So sit back and enjoy this journey as we pick our way through the curl.

Rick James had probably the thickest curl from back in the day.  He must have went through all kinds of product to keep that soft curl flowing.  Rumor has it that he spent almost as much money on hair product as he did on cocaine.  That in itself tells you he was serious about his curl.  A tip of the hat to the Super Freak as we ‘member him and his curl; “It’s a celebration!”

Stoney Jackson was the pretty boy who brought his curl to the mainstream.  He had one of the most recognizable curls back in the day.  He rocked it like a helmet.  Stoney’s curl had that day-long wet look.  Peeps could never tell if he just got out of the shower or just ran a marathon.  Long after he retired the curl, it went on to record an album under the same name.  Stoney took his curl to court and a settlement was reached after two years of litigation.

Sho’nuff proved you didn’t need activator to keep the curl rockin’.  Sometimes, heredity plays a big part in keeping a curl; no juice, no activator, no chemicals.  Too bad for Sho’nuff because at times, he needed a little bit of all three.  Maybe it was his active pursuit of being the “Master” that kept his curl from reaching its utmost potential.  Still, his curl kicked ass.

Ramon and Pedro Martinez don’t get the credit they deserve for rockin’ the curl long after it went out of style.  Heavily influenced by Michael Jackson, Ramon sported the MJ curl, circa Off The Wall.  Pedro still rocks the MJ curl, circa The Wiz.  Eventually, both will catch up with the times which should put them at a high fade.

AC Slater gets a nod from the Latino delegation.  He gave hope to a lot of us who had wavy or curly hair. However, as his hair grew longer, he created the curl-mullet.  It was as if he married latino waviness to redneck fashion.  Still, a lot of vatos flossed that stilo because the gabachas (white girls) and cholas totally dug the look.  Go figure.

Don Sutton gets mad props for being the one of the few gabachos who not only rocked the curl back in the day but still holds on to it even now!  That’s a bold move for the Hall of Fame pitcher turned broadcaster.  Jefe respects that.  Should we ever build a Curl Hall of Fame, Sutton’s curl would definitely have its own wing.

Ice Cube brought toughness to the curl.   Cube is just one down, hard vato.  Although he was no Chubb Rock, he was a husky dude.  That actually helped him keep his curl on point because his hair may have appeared thick when in actuality it was chunky and thus, sweated like a mug.  Cube rocked the curl long after his NWA days but even his wasn’t the best curl in NWA.  That honor belonged to…

Eazy-E was the epitome of gangster cool and West Coast attitude.  His curl set the standard because it was so iconic.  If I only mention a black baseball cap, locs and a curl, almost everybody would know I was describing Eazy.  A lot of curls from back in the day recognized that Eazy’s curl had swag. You know you’re a bad-ass if even your curl has a reputation like that.  You and your curl are definitely missed, Eazy.

Jules Winnfield probably has the baddest of the bad-ass curls.  Where as Sho’nuff’s curl would kick your ass, Jules’ curl would put a cap in it.  The oh-so tight curl that Jules flossed had a mystique all its own.  His curl was locked in the late 70’s to mid 80’s time continuum but still held a present day swag.  Now, it roams the earth with Jules just like Cain from Kung-Fu.

Randy Watson rounds out our tribute.  He was often overlooked because of Darryl the “Prince of Soul Glow”.  As clueless and tone-deaf as Randy was, he never let that stop him from sportin’ the dopest curl in Queens, NY.  His curl was like Heavy Metal meeting Funkadelic – pure and stank-nasty funk with hot butter love.  Jefe still is waiting to hear when Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate will tour again.

One response to “Great Curls in Pop Culture

  1. Who said curls are dead….it’s time to embrace them and wear them with pride. Rise up my “curly wurly” friends!

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