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


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 is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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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.