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Andy Bey

Andy Bey

When Andy Bey first shaved his head in 1973, it was for a part in a play called Holy Moses. “I was playing a bigger-than-life figure,” he says, hesitating for a moment. “I was supposed to be playing God, believe it or not.” Now Bey has traded his signature bald pate for a blanket of dreadlocks. “I thought it would be healthier for me to have hair. A lot of people thought I couldn’t grow hair. I wasn’t sure I wanted locks, because I didn’t know if I wanted to deal with all the maintenance. You oil it once a week and wash it from time to time. I put a cap on each night. I plan to let it keep growing. Even if I cut it, I’m not going to go bald anymore.”

We are sitting in Bey’s studio apartment on the western edge of Manhattan’s Chelsea district, where he has lived for the last 13 years. Originally from Newark, N.J., Bey knew the Shorter brothers-Wayne and Alan-when they were both teenagers. (Bey was about 11.) He moved to New York, “where the action is,” in 1970, spending time in the Bronx, the East Village and the Upper West Side before settling into his current abode.

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