African Print: From Oppression to Empowerment

Hey Beautiful people! For today’s blog, I feel the need to go a little bit into headwrap history and share with you how they help us connect to our roots.
African Print Headwraps history blog
All throughout black history, men and women from different backgrounds made use of headwraps/turbans to adorn their heads. Whether it is for making a fashion statement or for cultural representation purposes, the piece of cloth, designed to be worn as a head piece, has been a timeless fashion trend in many parts of the African continent.
As early as the 1700s, women have been wearing the Sub-Saharan born piece as a way of communicating their social and marital status. Some queens adorned their heads with the traditional head piece made of beautiful and rich fabrics woven with exotic flowers, while others opted for finer and lighter materials. Whether worn by royals or the every day women, African prints headwraps have been imbedded in the lives of black women for many decades.
African Woman in headwra
However, in the US, headwraps first emerged as slavery symbol. Not only were they imposed on slave women, they were used as an identification symbol but with an inferiority connotation. But as you may already know, black women always find a way to rise above any and every obstacle that comes against them, making lemonades out of lemons; sure enough, they discovered their own unique ways to express themselves and even communicate among each other through the way they tied the wraps without the slave masters suspecting a thing. And by so doing, they transformed the oppression “weapon” into a helmet of courage and empowerment.
Women in headwraps
Nowadays, wearing headwraps has become a way of reconnecting with one’s heritage and is worn with pride by a lot of black women, including myself. Being originally from Benin and having grown up there, I was exposed, first hand, to the beautiful colors of African Print headwraps; unfortunately I didn’t really pride myself in rocking them until I moved to the United states. As the former Ivorian president, Félix Houphouet-Boigny, perfectly penned “True happiness is only appreciated when you have lost it.” Although in my case, I am grateful I hadn’t totally lost it, I genuinely truly appreciated it when I was away from my motherland. It is an opportunity I am glad to have ceased quick enough.
I used to admire all the women around me, especially my mother, a true African Queen, when I lived back in Benin and was always fascinated by the way my older sister’s friends artistically wrapped theirs. But for some bizarre reason, I thought they looked better with headwraps than I do and that I don’t look good with them (🤦🏽‍♀️ we will have to discuss this in another blog). Now, I am fully embracing my roots again and I appreciate the happiness there is in the art of tying headwraps. In Benin, we call them TABLA (tah-blah) and in different parts of Africa, there are different names they go by based on the spoken dialects.
Model in headwrap
Since, lockdown last year, I have rocked my headwraps more than ever before and unapologetically so! They are not only great fashion accessories, they are also functional and great pieces to add some colors to my lounging fits. If you are ready to reconnect to your roots, and/or add some colors to you work-from-home outfits, check out our Headwraps collection here
Be Bold. Be You. Be Chic.

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