So this one has been a long time coming so for that y’all please forgive me. I can remember the first time the head wrap chose me. It was after countless hours of trying to figure out how to perfect the Queenness of such a wrap. I literally didn’t want to let my ancestors down so it had to be right. I consulted my kindred sista Queen herself baby J and she showed me the way. From there I doned a head wrap almost everywhere I went. It has become second nature to me. A way to always give homage to the Queens who came before me. In most recent years I’ve become very intentional about almost everything like the way I dress, from the trinkets on my locs down to the natural deodorant I rock under my pitts.
Everything serves a purpose. Everything is symbolic of something larger than myself. On this journey of self-discovery I wanted to learn more about the head wrap and its history both for African Americans but for my ancestors from the motherland. Most of what I’ll share about the head wrap is from this awesome article I recently read entitled “The African American woman’s head wrap: unwinding the symbols” by Helen Bradley Griebel. Feel free to check out the full article here: http://char.txa.cornell.edu/griebel.htm
Another great resource is this video https://www.facebook.com/refinery29/videos/1619284988101687/
There are some awesome nuggets in there. For starters the head wrap originated from the motherland and is symbolic with the crowns in which Queens wear. When Africans were brought and sold into slavery their masters would often require for them to wear their hair covered as a symbol of bondage. Can you believe that? Some states like Louisiana even had laws in place where slaves were not allowed to walk around without their hair covered at all. Could you imagine having to live under such restrictions considering the resurgence of rocking fros and loving our natural hair?
Hattie Mae Daniels. She is best known for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first Academy Award won by an African American entertainer.
Of course like every other tool used to oppress black women, slaves flipped the meaning of such a thing. For one wrapping our hair at the time ensured tidiness and protection from insects and dirt while working long hours in the field.
Unlike traditional European usage of the head wrap where women would use a triangle like piece of fabric tied under the chin, the African American head wrap was the total opposite. It started with a long rectangular piece of fabric tied upward on top of the head and tucked within itself. It would elongate the face and bring attention to the natural features like a crown. I love my head wrap and I rock it with great honor and pride because I know I am a reflection of my ancestors. Here is a quick step by step quide for how to do your own:
Step 1: Get you some popping fabric, cloth, t-shirt, towel (yes i’ve wrapped my head with towel before)
Step 2: Decide which style of wrap you wanna rock
Step 3: Put your hair up at the top of your head or find a filler to add inside your wrap as a base to wrap the fabric around
Step 4: Ill be describing how to do this wrap pictured for this post. Start with the wrap at the base of your neck
Step 5: Bring the fabric forward and bunch it in your heads in front of your forehead
Step 6: Cross the fabric and begin to wrap the cloth in a circle around your hair
Step 7: As the cloth begins to run out begin to tuck the ends inside the already wrapped fabric
Step 8: Thank the ancestors and get your black girl magic on and popping. OOooookkkaayyy
Also below are a few pictures of some of my favorite headwraps I’ve rocked with some of my favorite people in the whole entire world.