"Loc'd and Coded: The Politics of Dreadlocks"

For 1 year, 7 months, and 28 days (and counting), R Matthews has been growing out his dreadlocks. For him, it has served as his connection to his Jamaican heritage, but also his mom. But there have been many people, including R's parents, who insisted that he cut his hair if he ever wanted a meaningful job in corporate America. So throughout his dreadlock journey, he has been forced to face the question at hand: “my hair or a job?” Why is he forced to choose? His talk, Loc'd and Coded: The Politics of Dreadlocks, focuses on thinking critically about the perception of dreadlocks and respectability politics.

R Matthews is a senior at Brandeis University graduating with bachelors degrees in both Computer Science and African & African-American Studies. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Atlanta by two Jamaican immigrants, R came to Brandeis as a Posse Scholar. He is passionate about helping others through technology and innovation. He also aspires to bring his leadership, critical analysis, and technical skills to companies that strive to make the world a better place. R holds positions on campus as an academic peer advisor, tour guide, and mentor to other students of color. In his spare time, R loves to DJ, dance, edit videos, and spend time with his friends. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more here.


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