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This is my original letter posted to the forum. You'll be able to find all the material related to the Dreadlocks Treaty here so I thought I'd go ahead and add this. -KJC




Hey Guys!

Most of you don't know me - although all of you know of me...well it's not the same so let me give you some back story. About ten years ago I was partying my ass of in Myrtle beach when I decided that I wanted to get dreadlocks. I had moved down there to learn to airbrush. The airbrushing wasn't as fun as I expected but I learned how to draw caricatures and that was awesome. I was also learning how to make web pages because I thought that's what I wanted to do. Dreadlocks info was pretty lacking on the web and in general so talked to a lot of people, first just tourists that had dreads but eventually I put up a quick site about what I had learned and I started to meet more people online and learn faster. Dread products were lacking too and everyone was looking for recommendations. Most people were using products that we created for African hair textures and their results were poor to say the least. I had the resources available since my dad formulates products for a small company, so with his help I started working on some. The only business experience I had was JA in highschool but the idea of starting my own business seemed way better than getting a real job. I was obviously into art and the idea of making labels, logos and site graphics sounded like fun. I met Knotty Sloan around that time, she liked the idea too and jumped right in. She became by partner and my girlfriend. Ten years later we still haven't gotten a real job and we're still hoping we never have to. Starting out I knew what kind of company I could be proud of. Everyone's heard about evil corporations and fly-by-night cheats. I had no interest in dirty money like that. I've always said if I had no morals and only cared about money I would have started a porn site. I'm not perfect by any means but I'm better than that. So my plan was to make a good business like any good person would want to. One that treated customers like friends and was loved. A company that people would enjoy doing business with. I know, this sounds so cheesy it's painful - I'll stop - but Sloan and I have worked our knotty little butts off to make a company with those goals in mind. We try to let every customer know they are important to us. We thrive on praise from happy customers and we give ourselves a mental beating every time we let someone down. I'm telling you this because I wanted you to know where we've set the bar. If you come across one of our customers that's not satisfied with our products, please have them contact us and ask to speak with me directly. I stay busy, but I'm never too busy to help a customer.
For the record, DreadHeadHQ is currently just two people. We do work with another company that takes ordering calls for us so that we can have longer hours (and so we don't fall behind with other stuff) but DreadHeadHQ is just Sloan and I. We take every praise and criticism very personally since Dread Head is very much a part of us. Please respect that and try to limit accusations that are just there to sting but have no way of being supported by evidence. Criticism is always welcome though! We're always trying to make DreadHead better.

Thanks for taking the time to read the following letter. This letter is to everyone that takes issue with any of the methods or products that I promote on DreadHeadHQ.com

At first I was really into the idea of a debate, a big Wax vs Anti-wax throw down - cause I thought it would help "fix" a lot of things. The idea being that once this stuff was settled that it would be over and done with. I realized though that even if I come to an understanding with the current "anit-wax" following I've done little to reach others that may need ot hear the same arguments in the future, and I really want to avoid repeating this.

I have to admit I was really releaved when I found the list of questions for this debate. I want to commend you on your approach. I thought the biggest challenge with this type of debate would be getting past the name calling and accusations so we could have an adult discussion. I'm glad we are all ready to discuss the facts. Because I do a lot of fact checking it's difficult to get a whole lot done in real time so I'm going to answer these ahead of time and you guys can colaborate a response to my responses if things need further clarification.

Before we get down to the questions themselves we need to address the issue of how we can make what is said here stick - so the same questions don't have to be asked in the future.
I think I know how we can make lasting and permanent change but it can only be done with your co-operation. What I'm going to propose would help both of us, I think. I say I think because it's hard for me to know exactly what your aim is - so let me try to explain it and you can let me know how I did. I know dread wax is a big part of this but I think it goes well beyond dread wax.

The Goal of Ant-Wax groups, as I see it, is: To let people know that there is more than one way to make dreads. To let people know that time can replace tools, techniques and products. And that dreads don't have to look well groomed or smooth to be beautiful.

In my opinion the emphasis on wax being dangerous to dreads is almost secondary. There's no doubt that some people have had problems with wax. I have personally talked to people that have had problems with DreadHeadHQ dread wax. They each openly admitted they overused the wax, and each of them had since cut back the amount they were using which solved their problems. [I'll be glad to provide contact information for several such people (with their permission of course) upon request, if you doubt my sincerety.] My point is that obviously the dread wax lends itself to overuse and because it does, it makes a controversial topic that helps further the true aim of the Anti-Wax which is:
"To let people know that there is more than one way to make dreads. To let people know that time can replace tools, techniques and products. And that dreads don't have to look well groomed or smooth to be beautiful."

Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt that there are a few that truly believe: "All Dread wax, used in any way and in any amount, ruins dreads". I don't think there are many though, because to hold that belief one would also have to believe the following:
"Every salon that dreads hair with DreadHead dread wax is lying and doesn't really us it or they ruin everyones dreads they do, yet manage to stay in business year after year"
"Every glowing testimonial about DreadHead dread wax is a fabrication"
"Every facebook friend and fan picture of people that use our products is somehow fake"
"DreadHead has lasted 10 years in a tiny market despite disappointing nearly every customer"
"DreadHead's influence is so far reaching that they are able to pay off officials and do whatever else is required to stay open, under the same business name, even though they guarantee products that ruin dreads"
Obviously each of these things defy reason, yet if you believe that "All Dread wax, used in any way and in any amount, ruins dreads" then you must also believe these things.

For those of you that truly believe all those things...I'm afraid our discussion must end here. I won't even try to convince you otherwise. For the rest we have some reason in common, which is a firm foundation on which to build and move forward.

Let's zoom out and look at dreadlocks in general. I see the small group of people who wear dreadlocks split into two distinct dreadlocks mentalities:

1)Their focus is on reliable results in the lest amount of time. They don't necessarily want smooth, perfectly groomed dreads but they want a level of control that will allow them to make their dreads just how they want them whether that's smooth and perfect or more random and lumpy. They don't mind putting in effort at the beginning of the process to reduce maturity time and increase control over how their dreads look. They see dreads as an art form where they are the artist and they shape the dreads to their liking. They like some character in their dreads but want to have the option of smoothing out dreads and they want to be able to control their size and shape. They generally like rounded tips and very little loose hair at the roots and on the body of the dreadlocks. They use techniques and tools to help the dreads form and to control the process as they see fit. Instead of chemical processes they use natural products and methods but their main focus is on how the dreads turn out, not on the process itself. This group recognizes a need for their dreads to fit into their lifestyle, many are professionals who don't have the option of waiting for their dreads to look good. This group generally has a specific idea of how they want their finished dreads to look.

2) Those that place the emphasis on dreads happening by themselves or with less intervention. Their idea of good dreads is based more on how they were achieved. Their ideal end result varies a lot more. They are more fond of dreads with lots of character (curves, loops, zig-zags, etc.) and not likely to worry about loose hair mixed in with the dreads. They are very opposed to mixtures of ingredients that are sold just for dreadlocks and are likely to approve of mixtures of ingredients that they purchase at the store and mix themselves. Not only are they opposed to using dread wax but many also oppose clockwise-rubbing, palm rolling, backcombing and other types of intervention. There is a lot of differing ideas about what intervention is ok and what is not - but since everyone in this group avoids one or more types of intervention or products, on a basis other than effectiveness, I see this as a unifying factor. This group is more likely to have no constraints regarding the appearance of their dreadlocks. They are happy to wait for their dreads to lock if need be - as long as they lock with the correct amount of intervention. This group generally has a more broad idea of how they want their finished dreads to look.

I hope you more or less agree that people who get dreads fit into one of these categories. I also hope that if you are one of the people that strongly opposes dread wax that you can identify with the second group above. Assuming that this distinction exists we have to examine your list of questions (and all things dreadlocks related)with both of these mental frameworks in mind. Let me give you a quick example why. We'll look at Question 19.

Question 19: in the dread community natural dreads are the most respected and admired, so why do you try to make them seem the least desirable?

Lets look at this question from the perspective of each group. Group number two feels that their dreadlocks are beautiful and "ideal". The feel that dreads should have lots of character and that a high level of grooming is counter productive. They also feel that they are the dread community since they don't acknowledge the existence of group number one. Therefore the comments on my site -even just comments regarding how to "fix" bumpy dreads. Are almost offensive since they indicate that something is wrong with group number two's dreads which may have bumps.

Does that sound about right?

Now lets see it from Group number one's perspective. Group number one also feels that their dreadlocks are beautiful and "ideal". They feel that dreads should just like they want them to and they generally want them to be smooth and clean looking. Grooming makes their dreads look how they want. At first Group one wonders what community is being spoken about since group one sees itself as the dread community. Group one is also confused for a second because group one defines natural dreads as "dreads that locked with natural dreading methods rather than chemical processes". They know that their dreads are natural so group one wonders why someone would think that they would try to make their own dreads seem less desirable.
Group one remembers the term natural being used to describe dreads that were, by group ones standards, not very well maintained - dreads that were basically being left to do what they wanted. Group one is insulted that someone would insinuate that his natural dreads are somehow "un-natural". Group one wonders why anyone would need to do anything to make bumpy, un-maintained dread seem less desirable because to group one they already are.

I can see your side....I can understand your perspective and I think that you can see and understand mine. The questions we ask need to acknowledge the perspective of both groups. Some questions, like #19 above, don't even need to be asked when both sides are considered.

Until now, Knotty Sloan and I (AKA DreadHeadHQ), have focused entirely on the first group of people. Since these were the folks actively seeking information and products for their dreadlocks this made good sense. What didn't make good sense was to ignore the second group (possible you?) entirely. While you're not likely to become customer, you are wearing Dreadlocks just the same, and to ignore you is to ignore something of value. Your suggestions, opinions and experiences can all be helpful tools. In fact, they already have been...

The huge amount of attention that you have brought to dread wax has led me to clarify and improve a great deal of information on our site. We now detail the optimum amount of wax to use down to the gram. All information has been put in one spot and made easier to find. My customers have better info because of your input and I thank you. Another example is the Lock-Docta. When I began using the Lock-Docta on my own dreads, and started to consider selling them, my first priority was communicating the risks of such a tool with potential customers. I wrote a detailed warning right on the product page and I included a message (in perfect engrish) with every Lock-Docta so that even those who received them as gifts couldn't miss it. I doubt I would have been so thorough if it were not for your wax criticism and the time I've spent helping people use dread wax successfully and avoiding potential issues.

What I would ultimately like to do is work closer with you and others of group number 2. I want to make available good information on making dreadlocks without products, as well as with products. I used to see those two ideas in opposition. I don't any longer. I believe that if everyone is given good information on doing dreadlocks both with and without products, some will choose to do it with and some without - because ultimately they have two different goals in mind.

In order for us to work together we have to have trust. There can be no lies. Misleading info doesn't help anyone, it just slows things down, pisses people off and makes us look foolish in the end. Both groups need to eliminate inaccurate information from our sites. For example, I'll review my content and removing anything that I think could be misleading. If I have a statement on my site that you believe is un-true I want you to let me know specifically why you believe it's untrue. If I can't back it up or if I agree that it might be misleading, I'll remove it. If I think the statement is true I will support it with factual evidence and attempt to prove that it's true.

Of course we will have to both agree on what type of evidence is required as "proof". In most cases we'll devise an experiment that we agree would provide sufficient evidence and we'll carry it out. Of course the experiment needs to be well documented so that it can be reproduced by anyone who wishes to do so.
This is essential so that if the other party doubts the results they can repeat the experiment and confirm the results.

I've done a fair amount of this type of experimenting already so I already have many repeatable tests with quantifiable results that can be agreed to and used.
To make testing available to more people I will put together sample pack of our products that can be sent out for testing. The products will be free, only actual shipping charges will apply.

In the mean time, as we decide, either through agreement on facts or experimentation, that certain ideas are true or un-true, I'd like you to eliminate misleading statements from your own posts and discourage others from making similar statements. Work with the moderators and webmasters of the sites you support to help them remove un-true or misleading statements as well.

Here's an example of how this might all work:

Right now it's commonly said that dread wax sticks your hair together like glue, prevents movement, and prevents dreads from forming.
Here is how I would propose to determine if this statement is true or not:

I would take 2 samples of backcombed human hair. I would weigh and wash them in dread soap to be sure they are free of residues. I would weigh and then apply a specific amount of DreadHead Dread Wax to one of the dreads. I would use an initial serving of dread wax (either 1 or 2 grams depending on the size of the dread) since this is the largest amount of wax that one every puts in a dread. The second dread would receive an equal amount of Elmers glue. I would then leave the dreads exposed to open air for 7 days (or longer depeding on what is agreed)to give the dread wax and glue time to "dry" if it could, or harden if it was going to. Then I'd measure the dreads width in several areas and record it. Next I'd palm roll the dread for 1 minute. Last I would measure the dreads width again as before and record the measurements.

If the second set of measurements were smaller I would conclude that the hair in the dread moved when pressure was applied. The measurements of the dread with glue and dread with wax could be compared to determine their correlation. A 90% (agreed on ahead of time) correlation would be enough to say that dreadhead dread wax and glue had the same effect. Less than 90% would indicate that they effected the hair differently. Individual hairs on the dread could also be lightly pulled on to see if they pull apart or if they are in fact glued together.
This part of the experiment should be sufficient to prove whether or not dread wax sticks the hair together like glue and prevents movement. It does not however, prove that dread wax doesn't prevent the hair from dreading. To do that you would need another experiment with a control dread. All maintenance would need to be recorded and you would need to continue the experiment until the waxed dread had locked (or until it hadn't locked for a number of months which would be agreed upon ahead of time).

Assuming the experiment we agreed on was carried out and it was concluded that dreadhead dread wax does not prevent dreading or act as glue, preventing hair movement, you would have the opportunity to repeat the experiment yourself or accept the conclusion.

Once accepted, we would have "officially" come to an understanding on that topic. It would be "known" and "proven" that DreadHead Dread Wax does not glue hair together preventing movement and does not prevent dreading. It would then be a betrayal of our agreement and your commitment to the truth to say that it did. You would be responsible only for your own comments but, being committed to the truth, if you were to see someone else mis-representing the facts you could give them a link so that they could deepen their knowledge as well. Of course I would be bound in the same way - if, after determining that dread wax did stick hair together like glue and prevent dreading, I were to deny this on my site I would be betraying our argument and you would have every right to call me on it.

In this way we would all work together to spread the knowledge we've gained through experimentation. With our combined reach we could see to it that almost everyone interested in dreadlocks would have access to this information. To ensure this we will need to gain the cooperation of as many dreadlocks sites as possible and certainly every known Anti-Wax site. By having each of these sites agree to the terms of our "Dreadlocks Treaty" and agree to host a copy or a link to the entire discussion we know that it will be seen by just about every new comer to the scene.

Below is the start of the "Dreadlocks Treaty". I think it's a good start but of course it's something that must be agreed on. Once we agree on the treaty we must all agree to the treaty. I was thinking it would be super cool to print out a copy, sign it, and either scan it or take a photo of it signed. I'd like to display a page of all the signatures we gather. I would be crazy cool to include your email address, which group you identify with (1or2), your common screen name, and the site you support or own if you're a webmaster.

I understand that there are at least two ideas of what constitutes beautiful and ideal dreadlocks, and although I will continue to pursue the type of dreadlocks that I find personally appealing I will be understanding and considerate of others who may have different ideas regarding what constitutes ideal dreadlocks.

I agree to do what's necessary to ensure that the final conlcusions of the Dreadlocks Treaty Debate represent by beliefs and have my complete support. I understand the the Dreadlocks Treaty Debate is open to input from all member of the dreadlocks community regardless of their belief system, sex, race or dreadlocks preferences and that it is my responsibility to understand what has been said in the debate so that I can determine if I agree. If I do not agree with any or all points I understand it is my responsibility to raise counterpoints and support them with factual evidence.

I agree to make arguments based on reason, logic and quantifiable measurements and I'll avoid assertions and accusations for which I can not provide factual evidence. My focus will remain on the moving the discussion forward and working to determine the objective truth.

Once I am in agreement with all of the conclusions I will diligently avoid misleading statements and I will share my understanding of the facts by providing links and information to those that haven't been exposed to the conclusions of the Dreadlocks Treaty Debate. I will also review any editable public media that I have control over to eliminate statements that contradict the conclusions of the Dreadlocks Treaty Debate.

_______________ _______________
Signature Screen Name

_______________ _______________
Group 1 or 2 Email

Affiliated Site (owner / supporter)

Real Mailing Address

On to the questions....

As I answer each question (in order) I will try to be as thorough as possible and provide all the needed information so there is as little "back and forth" as possible. I know you'll try to do the same. Some of the questions will require experiments to be carried out. Some of these experiments have already been done and are ready for you to repeat and verify if desired, in other cases an experiment will need to be devised and then carried out. As each question is answered it will be posted along with the response. If anyone is unsatisfied with the response they have an opportunity to propose additional questions about what was said or provide additional evidence. Each topic will stay active as long as it needs to. When everyone agrees with the conclusion the topic is closed and we will proceed to the next question.

As I answer each question it will be posted along with the response here: http://www.Dreadlocks.tv
Look for the Dreadlocks Treaty Debate Section =]

As you guys agree on follow up questions (responses to my response) you can either email me a link where I can find them or you can email me the follow ups . It would simplify things to have one person, doing the sending - I vote for Mr. Eagle since he seems to be very involved and motivated but that's up to you guys. The email I gave when I signed up for the board will work.

You should maintain a copy of the questions and responses on your site as well. Other interested sites are invited and encouraged to do so as well. Those that agree to the Treaty are not required to have a copy of the questions until they have reached a conclusion.

I'm sure it will be asked why don't I just do everything on the discussion board. There are a few reasons.
1) No one party should have total control of the content. If each site maintains a copy it's almost impossible for information to accidentally change. Discrepancies will be easily noticed.
2) No one site should benefit from the traffic generated from the discussion. Hopefully a great deal of good content will come from this debate and each site can share it.
3) It's a key point in the Dreadlocks Treaty that the info (or at least a link to the info) will be displayed on as many sites as possible. It's to everyone's advantage to begin moving in that direction now rather than later.
4) There's a good chance that some of the responses will be best done with videos and mixed media. I'm familiar with my site and I know that I'll have no trouble displaying the media exactly as I want. Other web masters are familiar with their own sites and can do the same.

Since many people will scroll to the bottom and end up reading this first I want to encourage you to read this entire post. It took longer to write than it will take you to read - I promise!

For those of you that read it all I appreciate your patience and dedication and hope you'll agree to and sign the Dreadlocks Treaty so we can progress our understanding of dreadlocks and spread good information, regardless of the differing opinions we may hold about dreadlocks.

PS: Sorry if there are errors or omissions I normally take my time with stuff and make sure it's right but I'm already 8min late and really ready to be done for today - it is 8pm on a friday! so I'm just going to fire this off an hope for the best. I'll try to finish question one tomorrow, I've already started it here: http://dreadlocks.tv/the-dreadlocks-treaty-debate/dtd-question-one....

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