A Look at Black Women’s Hair Throughout History
When songstress and popular naturalista India Arie released the single “I am not my hair,” she drove the point home to her audience that a black woman shouldn’t be judged or defined by the way she chooses to wear her hair.
Erykah Badu took the conversation even further by stating that she would rather see someone with a natural mind and processed hair than someone with natural hair and a processed mind.
There are so many factors that have influenced the way us black girls wear our hair, and our choice of head accessories.
For example, once upon a time, head-shaving was used as a means of humiliating enslaved blacks who came to the new world, and erasing their culture and identity. Today, some sisters choose to wear a close-cropped hairstyle, and the beauty of that is, this time, it’s her choice. She wasn’t forced to wear her hair close-cropped, and she isn’t humiliated by the style. She wears it proudly because it was her own choice to wear it that way.
Another example is that of headwraps. In 18th century New Orleans, the Tignon Law, which required black women to cover their hair as an indication of their class, was enacted. As a way of spitting in the face of the law, black women got creative, adorning their heads with beautifully patterned headwraps, sometimes decorated with jewels. Today, black women everywhere, not just in America, proudly rock headwraps, not because some law has bullied them into covering their hair, but because they choose to wear those headwraps.
It’s Women’s History Month, and we thought it would be the perfect time to share the following video, which takes a look at the history of black women’s hair-styling and adorning throughout the centuries, with our readers. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
By: Danielle Dixon
Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani