Beauty & Race: did Malcolm X have actually Red-Colored Hair? to be He A organic Redhead, Or Did that Dye His Hair?

AS A teenager MALCOLM X, aka 'Detroit Red', enjoyed having straight hair, but later involved hate its herbal red color — or rather, the Scottish genealogy in his background that produced it. By Ben Nov. 20, 2020.

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AMERICAN beauty, beauty X: Did african American civil civil liberties leader Malcolm X have red hair? that inherited a natural reddish shade from his white Scottish grandfather. X, nicknamed Detroit Red on account the his hair color, was 15 when he straightened his hair and also got his very first 'conk' — the well-known African American hairstyle that the era.

AFRICAN AMERICAN CIVIL civil liberties leader Malcolm X was born Malcolm tiny on might 19, 1925, in Omaha Nebraska. He was the fourth of 7 children. His father, Reverend Earl Little, was an african American Baptist minister from Reynolds, Georgia. He was an imposing figure — six-feet-four and also with one eye. His mother, Louise Little, was born in Grenada in the brother West Indies. She background was an extremely different from she husband's. She to be an educated woman of blended heritage. She father to be white, and so she was light-skinned. She “looked choose a white woman”, Malcolm recalled in his autobiography. “She had straight black color hair, and her interval did not sound choose a Negro’s”. Although Malcolm’s father was very dark-skinned, that inherited lot of his mother’s complexion. His skin was the lightest of all seven children. Together a result, as a boy he believed that he to be treated far better by his father, and also escaped numerous of the regime beatings endured by his siblings.

'DETROIT RED': did MALCOLM X have actually RED HAIR?

Malcolm likewise inherited a reddish color, in both his skin-tone and hair, native his white grandfather’s side, which later earned that the nickname “Detroit Red”. The civil legal rights leader's mother’s partial white ancestry was a sore suggest within the family. She had never met she father, and was ashamed of her link to him. Malcolm himself involved resent the hereditary legacy that had awarded the his light skin and red hair. “I learned to dislike every fall of the white rapist’s blood that is in me,” that said.


In 1920s America, a brand-new hairstyle well-known as the “conk” swept through the afri American community. Afro hair to be chemically straightened through a home-mixed recipe referred to as congalene – a corrosive sauce make from lye, potatoes and raw eggs. The thick cream to be combed with the hair and left on for number of minutes to take effect. The process was on regular basis painful, together the cream reacted v the scalp, causing a solid burning sensation, as shown in the well known scene indigenous the Spike Lee movie, Malcolm X. The substance to be then shampooed out, leaving the hair permanently straight, v a integrated lacquered sheen. It to be then greased and styled.

The conk craze caught on through African American celebrities across the country. Malcolm gained his first “process” in Boston in 1940, at the tender age of 15, throughout his days as a small criminal: “the transformation, after ~ a life time of kinks, is staggering”, he recalled.


This part of Malcolm X's legacy remains a popular part of today's web searches about the former civil legal rights leader. Google, that collect and also publish monthly global search figures, report that currently, roughly 550 internet users form the words, “Detroit Red Malcolm X” right into their browsers each month, when a further 2,000 Google the terms, “Did Malcolm X have actually red hair?”, and “Malcolm X conk”.


With the awakening of his political consciousness, X, who also went by his Muslim name, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, to be scathing around the days as soon as he wore the conk hairstyle. “This to be my very first really huge step in the direction of self-degradation: as soon as I sustained all that pain, literally burning my flesh with lye, in bespeak to chef my organic hair until it was limp, to have it look like a white man’s hair. I had actually joined that multitude of negro men and also women in America who room brainwashed into believing the black human being are ‘inferior’ – and also white human being ‘superior.’”

Malcolm X’s hair revisionism to be subsumed right into his declaration of black color self-determination and civil rights, i m sorry peaked in the 1960s. Afri Americans, affected by the social mandates that ‘Black is beautiful’ and also ‘Black power’, unexpectedly rejected your processed hairstyles, and also for a while in ~ least, Afro hair take it centre stage.



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FAMILY BACKGROUND: Civil rights leader Malcolm X's parents, Louise and also Earl Little. His mom was that part-Scottish ancestry, i beg your pardon Malcolm concerned hate, and which accounted because that his red hair color. BOYHOOD: Malcolm X together a young boy.



The variety of people an international who Google the phrase, “Detroit Red Malcolm X” every month.


The number of people worldwide who Google the terms, “Did Malcolm X have actually red color hair?”, and “Malcolm X conk”each month.

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*All numbers for “Malcolm X’s Red Hair color - according to Google Search”, provided by Google. Stats include an international totals because that laptop and desktop computer computers and also mobile devices.