The United States Army has finally ends its ban on dreadlocks, allowing black women in the branch to serve their country sporting whatever texture they choose, according to The New York Times.
Initially, a ban against locks, twists and braids, established in April 2014, caused immediate pushback from African American women who found these styles the easiest to maintain when in service. The Army lifted the ban on braids and twists amid the backlash, but locks were still prohibited.
But, the ban was quietly lifted last month.
The change, according to the Times, surfaced last month in an Army directive that focused largely on grooming policy changes related to religious accommodations. Buried in the directive was text finally allowing female soldiers to wear “dreadlocks/locks.”
The Army directive (known as Army Regulation 670-1) says that each lock, or dreadlock, “will be of uniform dimension; have a diameter no greater than a half-inch; and present a neat, professional and well-groomed appearance.”
Sgt. Maj. Anthony J. Moore of the Army’s office of the deputy chief of staff for personnel told The Northwest Guardian: “We understood there was no need to differentiate between locks, cornrows or twists as long as they all met the same dimension. Females have been asking for a while, especially females of African-American descent, to be able to wear dreadlocks and locks because it’s easier to maintain that hairstyle.”
Below: YouTuber Nikky Nwamokobia, in September, created a video requesting removal of the Army’s ban on dreadlocks: