Yesha Callahan

Soul Glo Jheri Curl Syndrome


Attention all sufferers of the “Soul Glo Jheri Curl Syndrome”:

Maybe you haven’t read this in Wikipedia, but it states:

“…..Besides the fact that it eventually went out of style, the jheri curl’s decline in popularity probably occurred because of the damage it caused to the wearer’s hair. Perming the hair was time and labor-intensive and expensive to upkeep. The harsh mix of chemicals required for the process caused the wearer’s natural hair to become extremely brittle and dry…”

With that said, there is no reason why I should see not one but two people in a row this morning wearing a Jheri Curl in Prince Georges County. I know LL Cool J once said, “Don’t call it a come back”, but I truly believe there are certain things that should be left in the ‘back’ and should never ‘come’ again and the Jheri Curl is one of those.

willie morrow

According to Wikipedia, Willie Morrow (pictured above, in the left) invented the “California Curl”, but it was made popular by Jheri Redding. Oh and if you didn’t know, Jheri was a white man.


Yeah, I was a bit shocked to learn that Jheri was white. I can’t remember when was the last time I saw a white person wearing a Jheri curl, even when it was popular. So I’m going to assume, Willie Morrow, who doesn’t even have an wiki page dedicated to himself, sold his idea to Jheri, who before his death was a big ‘wig’ (pun intended) in the hair industry.

This morning I figured I would make a stop at Target before I got into work. I’m at the register paying for my items and that’s when I saw him, standing in his soul glow glory, the Target security guard. The shine of his Jheri curl was pristine. The glimmer that bounced off each individual curl literally could have brightened the cloudy skies that have been hovering over the DC area for the past week. I was so tempted to snap a photo of his hair, but I didn’t want to make it so obvious. As I’m standing in line behind him at Starbucks, I could literally smell the activator. In my mind, I could imagine him asleep at night, sweating from the plastic cap he probably still has to wear on his head. I also imagined that on those nights, when he may forget to use his plastic cap, that his pillowcase has Jheri Curl juice stains on it. I was so in awe of  his Jheri Curl masterpiece that I didn’t even realize it was time for me to place my order.

As I made my way to my office, I’m standing in the elevator waiting for the door to close. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought I was in a time warp back to 1988, because I saw another person with a Jheri Curl. Now this woman could have gotten a few tips from the security guard, because her curl was in desperate need in of some Jheri Curl Juice. She had a teeny weeny fro but the Jheri Curl was a bit dry looking. It was screaming for some activator. I knew I wasn’t the only person in the elevator to notice her retro curl, because two other women looked at each other and snickered. 

So this morning, not even within an hour apart, I saw two victims of the “Soul Glo Jheri Curl Syndrome”, which I thought died back in the early 90’s, but apparently these people didn’t get the memo. I feel sorry for the people who  may have to possibly sleep next to them at night, who have to spend hours at a time inhaling the smell of activator and trying to clean Jheri Curl juice stained pillowcases. When will people realize that certain styles just need to stay in the 80’s/90’s and the Jheri Curl is at the top of the list. 


  1. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    haha you should of took a pic of the target security guard!

  2. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    Are you trying to get me beat up in PG County? LMAO!

  3. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    This is what I don't understand…. the Jheri Curl is for all intents and purposes dead, but you can still go into your average store into the “ethnic hair care” section and find curl activator. Who are all these mysterious throwbacks buying activator such that the buying agents still feel justified in stocking this crap on the shelves??? I see WAY more locs than curls, yet I cannot go to my local drug store and get some ORS Loc & Twist Gel. There's a serious disconnect here. I bet if Jheri were black this would not be an issue.

  4. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    Wait, Jheri Curl was made by a White man?!?!?! Are you fuckin kidding me?!?!?! Ok, that's it, I'm too through with this post. Good post; very funny and all that. But I'm just lost at that Black History fact you threw out there.

    QUESTION:How old were these people? Don't tell me they were younger than 35.

  5. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    How come Jheri Redding's pic looks like a police sketch artist's sketch of a Mr. Hooper who ran the grocery store on Sesame Street back in the day?

  6. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    Here's a real photo of him, but it's not as fun to look at though:

  7. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    I know the woman had to be in her 40's, which isn't too far from man, I really couldn't tell..I'd have to say he was in his 40's as well. From what I've read today, Willie Morrow invented the curl, but sold his idea to Jheri, who well, in typical fashion, plaugued the black community with it..LMAO! You wrote crack ruined the community, I think the Jheri Curl started it. Jheri Curl invented crack. There, I said it…LMAO

  8. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    That is so true! In the grocery store/cvs/etc..there's always an abundance of activator products, but I like you said, no products for natural hair or locs. It's a conspiracy.

  9. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    Now you got me CTFU @ the thought of the Jheri Curl inventing crack.

  10. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    I'm just saying, it makes complete sense to me! Supply & demand…activator was (and apparently still is) in high demand, negroes had to figure out a way to get more $$ to buy it, so they went to work for the man aka Jheri & sold crack. Sounds completely accurate in my

  11. May 7, 2009 - Reply

    Absolutely hilarious! Do they still make activator? Oh wait, I know….they must have a stockpile 😉

  12. May 8, 2009 - Reply

    I find myself in the same predicament when I want to snap photos of strangers. In high school, I had no shame. I have an entire album of me posing with mulleted men. Now, I can't seem to find the audacity to take pictures, even in flattering situations like I like someone's style so much that I want to post it on my blog.

  13. May 8, 2009 - Reply

    Wow! This brings back memories. I remember playing basketball with dudes with a curl. The splatter, the burn, the slippage. (LOL) Good times!

  14. May 9, 2009 - Reply

    unfortunately there's obviously a consumer need for it lol

  15. May 9, 2009 - Reply

    you gotta be paparazzi nowadays to get a picture really

  16. May 9, 2009 - Reply

    LOL!! I can just imagine the activator flying into everyone's eyes!

  17. May 12, 2009 - Reply

    LMAO LMAO so glad I read this post!! First, I would like to say that I peruse the message boards of various natural hair care sites and some of them women LOVE curl activator!! People swear by it saying its the best moisturizer and such… I will have to pass… I just couldn't imagine puttin that stuff in my hair!!!!!
    Second, I KNOW at least 3 people who has a Jheri Curl now that number will be 5 if you consider these “texturizers” as a branch of the Jheri-dom… I do so I will say 5!!! And its to weird… like “Aye, that does NOT look right!!”
    Hmmm I wonder if they feel that way about me when I'm wearing a different weave every pay period… tis a thought to ponder LMAO

  18. May 13, 2009 - Reply

    Oh man…I had a jheri curl back in high school and the one thing I had to master was the activator thing. Putting on too much of that stuff will surely have the gnats flying around your head. Then I never liked a tight curl so I always had my hairdresser rod my hair in the biggest rollers possible so it could look like a wave (remember Wave Nouveau and Hawaiian Silky? I had those too!). That era ended for me in January of 1994. The only thing I could have attribute it to was the fact that it made my hair grow. If I could get everybody back home to read this blog they would have flashbacks.

    Keep doing your thing FBC!!!

  19. October 14, 2009 - Reply

    they took our afros and gave us jerry curls then started to tell us we had “bad” i guess they had good hair huh?

  20. October 14, 2009 - Reply

    they took our afros and gave us jerry curls then started to tell us we had “bad” i guess they had good hair huh?

  21. February 24, 2010 - Reply

    Psh. There isnt nothing wrong with the Jheri Curl lurking around. So what if he has to replace pillowcases and clothes? Keeps the economy goin ;). I know a couple of people with them and it looks bad. ( in a good way)

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