The mullets of Medellin

The mullet, a hairstyle often mocked and scorned by the “East Coast liberal elite” for its “low-brow” cultural associations, is elevated to the realm of art in this portraiture photo series by Stefan Ruiz. Along with journalist Rainbow Nelson (side note: that’s a pretty sweet name!), Ruiz highlights and celebrates in “The Mullets of Medellín” the intersection of two ubiquitous aspects of Medellin culture: the stylistic pervasiveness of the mullet and the religion of soccer, starring the above subjects, held in the city’s stadium Estadio Atanasio Girardot. This presents a refreshingly updated look at a city known more for its association with Pablo Escobar, drug cartels and the related shocking violence of the 1970s through the early 1990s. Pop culture references like “Entourage” and its plot line involving a biopic of Escobar, has made it difficult for mainstream perception to move beyond the city and country’s past despite positive trends.

The mullet should really be lionized. It does, after all, have an illustrious history, and no, I’m not talking exclusively about Ziggy Stardust and Captain Planet. The haircut goes as far back as the Byzantine Empire. The 6th-century historian Procopius describes it like this:

First the rebels revolutionized the style of wearing their hair. For they had it cut differently from the rest of the Romans…clipping the hair short on the front of the head down to the temples, and letting it hang down in great length and disorder in the back, as the Massageti do. This weird combination they called the Hun haircut.

Besides the Huns, here are some other famous mullets.