• Kuumba Waithe

Hair-story

What does your hair say about you?

Bob Marley. Stevie Wonder. Angela Davis. Lauryn Hill. When we hear those names very clear pictures come to mind- beautiful faces framed by locs, braids, or Afros. Many notable African Americans have used their hair to make a statement. However, the link between hair and identity is not a new phenomenon. Whether it is the decorative

Sowei masks, bronze Benin statues, or the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt there is evidence of elaborate African hairstyles, braids, and hairdos that predate written human records. Historically hairstyles in traditional African Cultures have had both aesthetic and functional purposes.

Sowei Mask,Mende People

One of the major functions of traditional African hairstyles was to communicate personhood, family, and identity which played essential roles in precolonial African societies. Often hairstyles, hair cuts, and hair designs were markers of a social category. Can you imagine a world where so much of who you are is revealed just in the style of your hair? For example, a shaved head with a single puffball on top would let people know you were a part of the Kuramo nation in Nigeria. Or, if you wanted to throw shade at another woman, you would do so with the Kohin-Sorogun braid pattern. Kohin- Sorogun means to turn your back on a jealous rival. In the Wolof culture of Senegal, young girls partially shaved their hair to demonstrate that they were single and not yet ready to marry. Conversely, widowed women would stop taking care of their hair during their period of mourning out of respect for their deceased husbands. Community leaders donned elaborate hairstyles. In some societies, Royalty could easily be identified because they would wear a hat or headpiece as a symbol of their stature. Hairstyles could be used to communicate ethnic identity, religion, marital status, peer group, and even wealth in traditional African cultures.

Although some of us have forgotten their meaning, traditional hairstyles are as present as ever. One of the most popular styles -Bantu knots- goes back for centuries. This hairstyle has also been called “Zulu Knots” and “Nubian Knots.” The originators of this versatile style are said to be the Zulu people of South Africa. Bantu is a linguistic category for the Nilo-Congo languages belonging to central and southern African ethnic groups. Although Bantu Knots can be a great protective style, they can damage your hair if not maintained. You must be sure not to twist the hair too tight to avoid traction alopecia, split ends, and tangles. For optimal results, be sure to moisturize your hair before styling your Bantu Knots with Grand Tressa’s Daily Leave-in Conditioner or Twist Cream. It will leave your hair touchably soft, shiny, and defined. You can even use this cream to create Twist Outs, a Flat Twist, and Two or Three Strand twists. We can use this product on wet or dry hair to keep those tresses healthy.

Did you know the hieroglyphs of Ancient Egypt depicted people with locs? Mummified remains have also been found with loc’ed hair and braid extensions! They have been regarded as a spiritual reminder to their owners and were believed to lock in energy. Locs have been tied to various spiritual beliefs from Rastafarianism to Hinduism. Although locs seem to be a low maintenance hairstyle, they actually require a lot of TLC . One key to maintaining your beautiful locs is our shampoo bars. Low sudsing, highly moisturizing, and leaves no dulling buildup our shampoo bars will bring out the King or Queen in you! The intricacy of the braiding of the hair revealed one’s ethnic group, status, and rank. Today, some women use cornrows to correct hair damage and promote healthy hair growth. It is also a hairstyle that is easy to maintain. Although cornrows are an easy way to maintain natural hair, it can also come with challenges. If the hair is braided too tightly, it can lead to hair breakage, edge loss, and permanent damage. In addition, wearing cornrows for too long can lead to dry, frizzy, and dull hair. To avoid those frizzy edges, you can check out Grand Tressa’s Honey Hair Butta. This product not only adds a little shine but also smooths out hairline edges without the harmful plastic polymers and harmful chemicals found in other edge gels. The honey conditions and nourishes the hair to moisturize dry and brittle ends.

Whether you chose to wear Bantu knots, locs, cornrows, or braid extensions for aesthetic or functional reasons you are taking part in Hair-story. We at Grand*Tressa Natural Hair Care salute you for continuing to flaunt your individual style. Stay Excellent!

Sources: Hair Story:Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana.D.Byrd and Lori L. Tharps

16 views