Black History Month: Hair & Heritage
Since the very beginning Black civilizations have created amazing and unique hairstyles to convey a multitude of messages. Some conveyed marital status, age, or even religion, while others were used for maps during slavery. Many of these same styles we continue to see today and it's about time we learn the roots of where they actually came from.
Cornrows originated in Africa and date back to 300 B.C. or further. These braids were worn as a representation of agriculture, order, and a civilized way of life. They were also a convenient and low maintenance style during slavery. They were even used to transfer and create maps with the intention to leave the home of the captors and escape to freedom. So to all of you non-black folks...cornrows are more than just braids. It's our ancestors, our history, and sometimes even our voice.
Dreadlocks have been around for decades and still, to this day, continues to evolve. This hairstyle is often associated with 20th century Jamaican and Rastafarian culture. Dreadlocks for many cultures is an important religious symbol. Even the Bible mentions dreadlocks. I think its safe to say this style has been around for a very long time and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
During the Civil Rights Movement there was also an extraordinary natural hair movement. The activist Marcus Garvey encouraged the black community to embrace their natural kinks. Wearing an afro became a weapon in the fight for racial equality. A big step to taking back power that was really never lost. After this movement more and more people of color started to embrace their natural hair. This is a big reason we have so many lovely fro's around us today.
4. Bantu Knots
"Bantu" is a term used to describe the 300 to 600 ethnic groups within southern Africa that spoke the Bantu language. A Bantu ethnic group, know as the Zulu people of South Africa, originated the hairstyle. Bantu Knots are still a very popular style today and one that can be a little tricky to master. But, once you finally get it, the results will definitely be worth it.
5. Box Braids
The history of braids dates back to 3500 BC. Yeah sis, they go wayyyy back. Braiding originated in Africa with the Himba people of Namibia. Different braiding hairstyles was a unique way to differentiate each tribe. Box braids gained popularity in the 1990s and hasn't left the top since. Braids out of all styles seem like they can never go out of style. They may be appropriated and given other names but at the end of the day...IT'S OUR CULTURE!
Want to recreate these styles? We have the essentials to help you achieve them!