The Weeknd burst onto the music scene in 2012 and rose to international fame with the release of his 2016 album, Starboy. Despite the singer’s skills on stage, part of his persona was his unique look, including a distinctive hairstyle, which left many wondering if The Weeknd wears a wig.
The Weeknd does not wear a wig. His choppy dreadlocks were naturally cultivated and the singer sported them for many years, before ultimately chopping them off in favor of a new hairstyle.
Read more below about The Weeknd, his quirky style, and where he keeps his dreadlocks.
Heritage and Hairstyles
The Weeknd was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye on February 16, 1990. His parents were Ethipoian immigrants who had fled to Canada to escape the tumultuous political climate and the famine threatening their home country.
The family resided in the Scarborough area of Toronto, known for its diverse culture and large immigrant population. The Weeknd grew up engaged in studying his Ethiopian heritage, even learning to speak the native language, Amharic, and playing traditional African music along with his relatives, noting, “My mother, my grandmother, my uncles would play Ethiopian artists like Aster Aweke and Mulatu Astatke all the time in the house. They would drink coffee, eat popcorn, and listen to the music. It’s such beautiful music, but I didn’t realize how beautiful it was until I left that head space.”
Though The Weeknd’s road to superstardom did not happen overnight, it took less than two years from the time he released his free mixtape, House of Balloons, which caught the attention of Drake, to when The Weeknd released his debut album, Kiss Land, in 2013. The singer became a household name in 2016 when he released the hit single, “Starboy,” which ultimately landed at the top spot on Billboard.
Given The Weeknd’s rich cultural background, people have often wondered if his signature dreadlocks were a nod to his Ethiopian culture. Many priests in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church sport dreads and The Weeknd is known to have been raised in a strict religious household.
Though his roots might have played some part, ultimately the singer opted for his infamous hairstyle for a different reason, telling Rolling Stone magazine, “I want to be remembered as iconic and different. So I was like, ‘F–k it, I’m gonna let my hair just be what it wants. I’ll probably cut it if it starts interfering with my sight. I can kind of see it right now. But if I cut it, I’d look like everyone else. And that’s just so boring to me.”
The Weeknd’s hair has always been a hot topic and even Taylor Swift was mesmerized by the style. The Weeknd confirmed that the first time he met fellow superstar Swift, she would not stop running her hands through his hair.
A Shocking Shear
Despite his hairstyle being a huge part of his brand, The Weeknd opted to cut off the dreadlocks because the ‘do began interfering with the singer’s sleep. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the singer explained the shocking decision, saying, “Now, the sleep is amazing. The shower is amazing, because I don’t have to spend two hours cleaning it. I didn’t know how much I wanted it until I did it.”
You can watch a video on The Weeknd’s hairstyle evolution in the YouTube video below.
The haircut caused a media frenzy, with dozens of publications reporting on the change to his style. The Weeknd, however, knew the value of the dreadlocks and they are being stored in his manager’s safe.
Much like his music, The Weeknd likes to keep his style fresh and changing. Though the iconic dreadlocks were not a wig, and he is loving the shorter hairstyle as of right now, fans can expect his look to continue evolving as his career goes on.