In Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles, professor and author Bert Ashe delivers a witty, fascinating, and unprecedented account of Black male identity as seen through our culture’s perceptions of hair. It is a deeply personal story that weaves together the cultural and political history of dreadlocks with Ashe’s own mid-life journey to lock his hair. Ashe is a fresh, new voice that addresses the importance of Black hair in the 20th and 21st centuries through an accessible, humorous, and literary style sure to engage a wide variety of readers.

This free classroom guide is designed for educators working with high school students and can be used in settings such as schools, church groups, or after school programs. It includes:

  • A core lesson plan
  • Discussion, research, and writing topics
  • Creative, social, and emotional learning  connections
  • Suggestions for further reading
  • A full list of connections to current educational standards
  • An assessment for learners with answer key

Praise for "Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles"

“An exhilarating heartfelt memoir about a black man and his dreds and all the world in between.” —Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

“A hilarious, erudite, obsessive compulsive rant through black bohemia and black style.” —Trey Ellis, author of Platitudes and Right Here, Right Now

“It’s really just hair, but it also represents something much deeper for people who are marginalized. And Twisted offers a complete and satisfying explanation of why that is so.” —Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post

“Beneath the sometimes outré humor and self-deprecating tone of Twisted are serious and poignant questions about the nature of black identity, who shapes it and why and how black folks might finally seize control of that identity themselves.” —Erin Aubry Kaplan, Los Angeles Times

“I really do admire it. Bert Ashe is amazingly willing to acknowledge all of the ways in which underneath the dreads is just a guy with a mixture of identities, and that the dreads might appear to resolve such issues, but actually do nothing of the kind. I found Twisted deeply satisfying. By the end of the book, I felt as if I had been taken on a quite serious emotional and intellectual journey.” —David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto and Black Planet: Facing Race During an NBA Season

“As his mane grows and twists, Ashe does likewise with his tales, with his thoughts, and, delightfully, with the process of the style, the reasons why he waited to grow his dreads, and why . . . he’s kept them.” —The Times Weekly

“I like the style, the moves, the sense of rhythm and riff and the seeming ease with which [Twisted]. . . pulls off some extraordinary effects. The plot is about dreadlocks, but at its heart Twisted is the narrative of the emerging and expanding self.” —John Callahan, literary executor for Ralph Ellison and editor of Ellison’s Juneteenth