Monday, October 20, 2008
Wrap your head with this material....
Anyone who knew me a couple of years ago, or even a year and a half ago, knew that I was good for ‘rocking’ a head wrap. I mean the ones that shot straight up [think of E. Badu’s “on and on”] and pointed to Allah, saying “yes, I am a refined Queen”. But I transitioned out of head wraps over the last couple of years because I started to feel confined to a piece of cloth.
I started with the art of head wrapping when I became a citizen of the Nation of Gods and Earth [Five Percenters] at seventeen—dutifully wearing my 3/4ths (rockin three-fourths of cloth never showin' your stuff off, boo—Method Man) of clothing and keeping myself refined and fly. Moving from occasionally wrapping my hair to rocking 3/4ths and sporting head wraps as an everyday part of my clothing was something that transpired during my sophomoric and junior years of college.
An African Woman from Ghana first showed me how to master the wrapping of my head, but it was an elder in the Nation of Gods and Earths that help me put meaning to what I was doing. Black Women she told me, who were Earths” in the Nation of Gods and Earth were to cover every "curve on their bodies" including your hair, so your body could not be seen. So for most of us, if any part of the body was exposed---you wrapped your hair. If legs were exposed---wrapped, if your arms and/or legs were exposed--wrapped, if skirts were floor length and arms not exposed, you could wear your hair out. It was the “Queenly” thing to do…. because dressed in 3/4ths signified the beauty of an Black woman valuing herself and setting herself an apart from other Black Women by being an illustration of a Queen, an Earth.
In my senior year of college, I stopped building with the Nation of Gods and Earths, but kept the head wraps…also around that time, I picked up a Black feminist agenda and became a Women Studies major in college. But my head wraps started to become something very fetish-like to the White girls in my class, as one White girl said to me one day “I wait everyday to see what color head wrap you have on your head”. I eventually stopped wearing my head wraps and just let my naps be exposed to the world.
A couple of days ago, I found a bag at the bottom of my closet, with my colorful head wraps and I started to question why I had even stopped wearing them in the first place. Had I transitioned from Queen Mother Earth in undergrad to Black feminist academic Sistah in graduate school, where I NEED to actually show my naps on my head, because I was now in a place where acculturation looked good to even the most confident person? *maybe* Or, was I tired of the stigma attached to them (external representation of Afrocentricity—which I do not ascribe to)? *shrugs* Or, was it because of the rampant Kemars and Muslim Women in Philly that I wanted to distance myself from? *Nodding*
Although those questions may have had some bearing on my decision, I think the real reason I stopped wearing head wraps, was due to way that I got caught up with attaching “Queen” to a piece of cloth…it became gimmicky. Between the ages of 17 and 22, I kept hearing that real Queens never exposed themselves….real Queens wore their hair covered for their righteous Black man, (even though he never had a dress code)….real Queens never let their bodies be exposed to the White man’s eye…blah, blah, blah….it was like my crown or something…my cape… and if I didn’t have it on, my super Black Woman powers were juiced out….so the head wraps had to go, because if my self-worth was tied to a head wrap, then I was in big trouble.
But I say to the Sistahs that rock head wraps, keep rocking on (I may rock one tomorrow), but know that ¾ths nor a head wrap starts with a mental elucidation, nor does a mental understanding starts and then a head wrap follows…with or without the head wrap, we still can shine as beautiful Black women.