Jason, originally from the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago is the handsome and ever so humble WrapStar feature for this week! I may be a bit biased but I am immeasurably excited and welling with pride as I introduce him and tell his story. He is an awesome father of two handsome sons, a recent graduate obtaining a bachelors degree, and of course, a WrapStar! Like one of our past features, Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka, Jason wraps his hair predominantly for utilitarian purposes. His locks are almost 3ft long and are very thick. Thus, wrapping relieves some of the weight on his scalp and also protects his long locks from damage due to pulling and snagging. But, don’t be mistaken, Jason also wraps his hair for aesthetic reasons and at times wears turbans which match his shirt or his overall attire.
Regarding the style of his turbans, he draws his inspirations from childhood experiences with Rastafarians in Trinidad and those he came in contact with while living in the US. He has grown to admire and respect the Rastafarian code of ethics and lifestyle therefore, he incorporated some of their belief system in his own life. Jason says: “wearing the turban is about feeling natural, it’s a connection to my Trinidadian cultural heritage, and is done out of respect for and connection to Rastafarianism.” He has also said that the turban is calming; the calming effect allows him to delve deeply into his thoughts.
In speaking about his challenges Jason asserts:
“The challenges of wearing the turban is similar to the challenges I encountered as my locks grew. First, I still cannot wear my turban to work or everywhere I would like to wear it without others expecting some kind of explanation for it. People have their own perceptions and definitions for my turbans and why they suspect I wear one. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with the turban and whether I am prepared or not, I must contend with it. Furthermore, employers, strangers, and acquaintances all seem to expect or require a story and sometimes the real reason does not match the story they have already concocted prior to asking me any questions”.
Jason: “No, not really, the quickest way to stop inquiries is to tell them it’s for religious reasons. 99% of the time, the inquiries cease and I can go back to whatever I was doing or not doing.” He Smiles and further explains: “Most of the time, I just wear my turban and deal with the after-effects, especially if it is not company protocol. People need to know that in most cases, if you claim religion as a means of wearing turbans or head wraps in an organization, it becomes an expectation that the turban is always worn. When it is on, sometimes, the result is an onslaught of questions that you have to be prepared for; whether to answer or not. It takes years to mold the personality, strength and energy to be able to deal with the complications that sometimes arise from wearing turbans or head wraps.”
His comments remind me of similar sentiments by Mutabaruka who also mentioned the stigma related to head wrapping . If you missed that article, be sure to check it here: http://www.caribdirect.com/2011/11/26/it%e2%80%99s-a-wrap-4-featuring-mutabaruka/.
I asked Jason, what has he done to overcome these obstacles, to which he replied: “time, dedication, and determination is the only way to overcome these particular challenges; dedication to wearing the turban and determination to face the foreseen and unforeseen challenges.” He likens his experience to his decision to grow his locks and having to commit to two lifestyles: the lifestyle he has chosen for himself and the lifestyle imposed on him by those he comes in contact with, those who don’t know him at all.
I am sure that some of you can relate to some of Jason’s experiences, thoughts, and decisions. Needless to say, these experiences have not deterred him, he continues to be the WrapStar he is and wears his turbans with pride and ever increasing knowledge and awareness!
Wrap on WrapStar!
Special thanks to photographer Dale Vega Vidaurre of Beyond Belief Images for providing these wonderful photos of Jason.