CULTURE WEDNESDAYS

The origin of the African, and African-American women’s headwrap.

The headwrap originated in sub-Saharan Africa, and was often used to convey modesty, spirituality and prosperity. Even men in Africa wear head wraps to symbolize wealth and social status. Head wrapping is literally a way that African’s for centuries have been able to non-verbally communicate their place in life. The headwrap of a woman walking down the street will tell you if she’s a widow, a grandmother, or if she’s a married young woman. It’s an element in the daily living of an African woman. Headwraps also serve a practical function in protecting the head from the rays of the sun. In West Africa, head wraps are referred to as ‘gele’ in Yoruba or ‘ichafu’ in Igbo.*

The African-American headwrap holds a distinctive position in the history of American dress both for its longevity and for its potent signification’s. It endured the travail of slavery and never passed out of fashion. The headwrap represents far more than a piece of fabric wound around the head. This distinct cloth head covering has been called variously “head rag,” “head-tie,” “head handkerchief,” “turban,” or “headwrap.” The headwrap usually completely covers the hair, being held in place by tying the ends into knots close to the skull. As a form of apparel in the United States, the headwrap has been exclusive to women of African descent. The headwrap originated in sub-Saharan Africa, and serves similar functions for both African and African American women. In style, the African American woman’s headwrap exhibits the features of sub-Saharan aesthetics and worldview… The simple head rag worn by millions of enslaved women and their descendants has served as a uniform of communal identity; but at its most elaborate, the African American woman’s headwrap has functioned as a “uniform of rebellion” signifying absolute resistance to loss of self-definition.“**

Wow, so much history in everything we do! Let’s keep wearing our crowns!

Enjoy Loves! ❤️

*Read more at: http://blog.africaimports.com/wordpress/2015/02/the-cultural-significance-of-the-african-headwrap/

**Read more at: http://char.txa.cornell.edu/Griebel.htm

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