The Head wrap: A Cultural Significance

Updated: May 20

Growing up I often saw my mother wear beautiful head scarves or as Haitians call them “swa echap“ made from her native country, Haiti. She would wear around them in the house while cooking, cleaning, or lounging around. They were silk and had vivid colors with African influenced prints. I remember taking a few and playing dress up with them. I would go into the bathroom tie them on my head and look in the mirror imagining they were long flowing hair strands falling down my back. They were so pretty I wondered why she never wore them outside of the house. One day while she was sitting at the table reading a magazine I asked her. She explained to me that the head wrap originated in Africa and was often used to convey modesty, spirituality, and prosperity. However during slavery, black women and sometimes men were forced to wear the head wraps like they were badges of enslavement by white masters. They also became symbolic markers, indicating a slave's inferiority in the social hierarchy of the time period. As she explained this to me, I began to understand why she choose not to wear them out in public. For many many years, head wraps were associated with servitude and homeliness. It wasn’t until the 1970s, that black people began to embrace wearing them again. This time it was not shameful to wear but to wear them proudly with a renowned sense of self-love. I remember as an impressionable teen growing up in the 1990s and 2000s, I would see artists like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and India Arie popularize the colorful and towering wraps. Their public display of affection towards afro-centricity quickly entered the mainstream and was food to my soul. Since then, I have been wearing head wraps out in public ever since.

On this particular day, I wasn't in the mood to deal with my hair. However, I had to run a few errands. What better way to look fly and handle business than to adorn my head with my cloth crown. This head wrap is velvet and has a beautiful vibrant pink color. The fabric is soft and has satin lined underneath. I purchased it as a pre-knot and I will admit that this is not ideal for women with thick super dense hair like me. After numerous attempts to get it on, I finally had to take out my seam ripper to open it up so it could fit. It was a bit short so I couldn't really tie the knot like I wanted. If you don't have thick hair issues like me, I would definitely recommend purchasing a pre-knot head wrap. The knot doesn't unravel and stays put. I purchased this one from If you would prefer to create the knot yourself you can purchase similar ones here

This cropped denim jacket is from JLuxeLabel. I really like this jacket because it's fitted yet oversized. Perfect for my pear shape! It has a vintage feel to it and I like the appearance of the adjustable waist band in the back. My ring set is from Free People. You can purchase similar items here

What are your thoughts on head wraps? Comment below if you If you would like a video tutorial on how to tie one. There are so many styles to choose from!


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