Business Spotlight! | Nadula

The Fall season is here. The autumn leaves are sprinkling the ground with vibrant colors. With the cold weather upon us, it can take time to bundle up. But not only does your body need protection. Your natural hair does as well.

Too much cold hair can make your hair dry and brittle. Sometimes you need to give your natural hair a break and let it grow under a weave. Nadula is a top-brand hair seller that can get you styled and dolled up for this time of year.

Luxury Hair At A Discount

You deserve to slay at an affordable price. Nadula prides itself on durable hair that is trendy and always at a discount. From October 19-21st you can even get up to $30 off. They have wig products in 12 categories and have been sold in more than 50 countries on every continent of the world. When you sign up, they even offer a “Spin To Win” advantage, where you can get a $10 off coupon or a 10% off coupon. If you want a coupon package, simply go to their website, scan the code, and contact them on Whatsapp. By doing that you can receive up to an $80 coupon package. 

Stylish Wigs

Wigs are a rad way to try something new without having to spend hours to install. It is exciting to know that Nadula Hair has innovated the TL412 lace frontal wig. Many wig brands have tried to adopt their style and match up to their authenticity, but they are the first to have a unique wig that looks real, natural, smooth, soft, and dynamic. 

It is no surprise that they would have such a huge following because they are so versatile when it comes to wigs. Whether you need a glueless wig, a lace wig, a half wig, or different highlighted wigs, Nadula has you covered.  Click here to get a glueless wig of top quality. 

Bundles Galore

I know so many Queens that already have a beautiful crown of hair. But maybe you have a special event coming up in your life. Your wedding anniversary with your longtime boo or a recent job promotion. Why not celebrate by adding some razzle dazzle to your hair?

Nadula can come to your rescue with kinky straight lace wig extensions, Brazilian curly hair, Indian mink hair, etc. Adequately moisturize your natural hair before sewing in any weave.  

What’s Trending Now

On their site what’s hot right now is the autumn colors. You know how the leaves change to a reddish, orange hue? This season’s colors are selling like hotcakes right now. 

Give your natural hair a vacation. It needs some downtime to revive itself from excessive wind and wear and tear. Weaves are a form of enhancement that accentuates our beauty. Give Nadula a try. Their motto is “Be Confident, Be Bold, Be You”. In 2017, Queen Naija signed as a Brand Ambassador. Since 2020, they have had over 1 million happy members. Judging from the endless amount of good reviews that they get online, their hair is worth the purchase.

The Chinese Exploitation of Black Beauty

Image Credit: Radii China

Just this Monday, June 20th was World Refugee Day. The United Nations created an international day to celebrate and honor refugees from around the world. While African countries welcome European and Middle Eastern refugees with open hands, migrants from the motherland routinely receive the cold shoulder. To the woke eye, this is very disheartening.

I am an avid watcher of World News. My journalistic mindset never wavers even when I go through writer’s block. I keenly view snippets of BBC News Africa online. One series that delves deep is called “BBC Africa Eye”. In a recent episode, I watched in horror as Chinese filmmaker Lu Ke casually exploited village kids in Malawi. Children that were clearly supposed to be in school were being taught to say insults in Chinese such as “My IQ is low” and “I am a black monster”. He was exposed by an undercover journalist and later arrested.

Image of Lu Ke Credit: BBC Africa Eye

Incidents of the Chinese race exploiting the Black race are not new. I see that almost every time I walk into a beauty/hair supply store. As a Grand Rapids resident, I can think of 5 local beauty/hair supply stores that cater to the black race, with black hair care products filling the shelves. I frequently shop at all of them, and it is obvious that they are mostly owned by Chinese people. When you are “shopping while black”, assumptions are made. Being profiled as a potential shoplifter is to be expected. That is why online stores have become a safe space for women of color. No one wants to feel like they are being watched while searching for their favorite hairspray.

Photo by Godisable Jacob

While black women in the U.S worry about racial profiling, black women within the African diaspora face even bigger issues. The market for human hair is booming. The African hair care business is a multi-billion dollar industry, with an estimated $1.1 billion being spent on shampoos, relaxers, and hair lotions in South Africa, Nigeria, and Cameroon alone.

China owns 70% of human hair factories. Black salons make 80% of their income from human hair products. While the Black community spends a lot of their earnings on human hair extensions, most of that money goes back into the hands of the Asian community.

The Asian Advantage

Image Credit: SupChina

Any black beauty enthusiast would feel puzzled at the harsh reality of where most of our shopping revenue goes. From the surface level, it would appear that we do support each other. I have attended many pop-up business events where black-owned businesses received consumers from the black community in an abundance. So what is giving so many Chinese beauty shop owners the upper hand?

Because China is universally the epicenter of where a lot of products are made, Chinese people can get products for extremely cheap based on their connections. 

The average black woman’s path to entrepreneurship is not peaches and cream. You don’t automatically have connections. To succeed in a short amount of time you would need to have ample start-up funds. And even then, to get a low price you would have to either form partnerships overseas or with a Chinese vendor.

This has created a low percentage of black women who own small beauty supply stores. Less than 10 percent to be exact. It is as if our Queens are fighting for a piece of pie that we never really had fair access to, to begin with.

An Easier Alternative

A lower-cost alternative to trying to start a beauty supply store is buying a hair vending machine. These machines cost as low as $9,995 and can be leased for as little as $249 a month (with good credit of course). That is less than half of what it would cost you to start a beauty supply store. Place it in a popular high-traffic area and you are looking at making $500 up to $2,000 a month.

Also, the cool thing about vending machines is that you can put whatever product you want. It can be handmade products or popular name brand products. And there are chains of vending machines like Tress Obsessed Beauty Vending that specifically stock beauty products for WOC. 

Where there is a will, there is a way. Many WOC are creating unique hair products from the kitchen of their own homes. We are constantly inventing new effective methods to treat and care for natural hair. And we are here for it. We are here for diversity, inclusivity, and profiting from our black beauty. 

Y’all my African Beauty And Braids blog has organically gained 1,000 followers and over 900 likes on Facebook! Woot, woot! Feel free to comment below and let me know what topics in the realm of African Beauty And Braids you want to get addressed. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ― Maya Angelou

Business Spotlight: Curls Queen

During these hot summer months, sometimes we need a break from wearing our hair out. Extensions offer the unique advantage of versatility and protection. Finding extensions that match a tight coily hair texture can be a task. Curls Queen online hair store provides textured human hair extensions, wigs, and ponytails. They offer high-grade human hair with at least a 6-month lifespan. Our lives can get hectic, and styling natural hair does take time. With Curls Queen extensions, you’ll be out the door in no time!

Vlogger Ms. Naturally Mary Rocking Curls Queen Extensions

Advantages of Yaki Clip-Ins

When worn properly, clip-ins are a great way to add volume and length to your natural hair. You can use them as a reference as to how long your natural hair can grow with added time and correct maintenance. They won’t feel too heated or add too much weight to your scalp. Do you have commitment issues? Yaki clip-ins can give you the chance to experiment with the type of hairstyles you want to try.

Vlogger Porsche Lua Showing Off Her Curls Queen Clip-Ins

Flexible. Growth stages while embarking on this natural hair journey can vary from person to person. Some women of color can grow long hair naturally in a matter of months, while others’ growth can take years. Yaki hair matches 4c curls while giving you a “wow” factor that you want during date night or special events.

Confidence builder. Your hair can reach lengths that you haven’t reached before if you regularly keep it covered in a protective style. Curly hair can quickly get tangled, dry, and overwhelming. Yaki-clip-ins can cover your natural hair, giving it a shield from the sun and other natural elements. The added length is also a confidence booster. Clip-ins can enhance your natural beauty. Have you ever had a bad hair day and no amount of frizz control could contain your hair? Try clip-ins. It is worth the purchase.

No heat is needed. A lot of naturalists will admit that in the past the constant use of curling irons did cause burns to their scalp and breakage to their strands. Curling irons when not used in moderation can fry your hair. Clip-ins don’t require any heated devices. Once you know what your hair type is, you will see that Curls Queen has hair extensions that blend in with kinky hair. No hassle, no pain.

Drawstring Ponytails Are Beneficial

Beginner-friendly options are all the rage since many are jumping on the self-care bandwagon. With a Curls Queen Convert-Cap Wig, you have the benefit of an easy hairstyle that can be done in a few minutes. You can cornrow your hair and add a ponytail. Using the rubber band or threading option also works. Or french twist your hair into a drawstring ponytail. The styling options are limitless. 

Image Credit: Curls Queen

Custom-made design. Be authentically you with a style that brings out your face the most. With drawstring ponytails, you can sleek your hair back and wear your hair up. This is a perfect look for professional business settings. And you don’t have to worry about it feeling too tight. Curls Queen has a breathable and flexible cap that you can simply place over your natural ponytail. It comes in different lengths and colors, so you can order one that best suits you.

Versatility. With an updo comes the use of headbands, scarves, and hair accessories. Almost anything you can think of. It can adapt to many looks. Curls Queen Converti-Cap Wig has many uses. Its adjustable drawstring can stretch or shrink to fit your hair. It is made with human hair, so you can rest assured that it is high-quality. 

Washable. Keeping extensions clean is imperative to your hairstyles lasting long. It is not recommended that you do not blow-dry extensions, because it can cause major hair fallout. Just wet the clip-ins thoroughly. Purchase sulfate-free shampoo to rinse your clip-ins with. After washing with shampoo, allow your extensions to sit in a conditioner for at least 10-15 minutes. Rinse out and gently comb your hair. Then hang it up for air dry. It is advised to only wash hair extensions every 4 to 6 weeks. Hair extensions do not receive natural oils as natural hair does. They also are more liable to breakage. So using a wide-tooth comb when styling is best.

Curls Queen has many positive reviews and ideal textures for African hair. Whether you have 3a or 4b hair, need light yaki to coarse yaki, or a coarse kinky blowout, you can use them as a one-stop-shop for hair extensions. 

Have you tried out clip-in extensions for your natural hair before? Sound off below!

Edge Naturale: Trust It Or Trash it?

Your edges, commonly referred to as baby hairs, are the most delicate strands on your head. They grow along your hairline. You have to keep them protected to prevent losing them because your edges help to frame your face. 

When your protective style is too tight your edges will be damaged. I have had thinning edges from wearing protective wigs that were too tight for my head. Using Edge Naturale follicle enhancer was a great choice. It has helped me to grow not only my edges but also other problem areas.

How Do Edges Get Damaged?

So many factors can affect the healthiness of your edges. Hair loss can be caused by alopecia, which is a condition that results in your hair falling out in small patches. Tension from tight overprotective hairstyles can suffocate your follicles. Hormonal changes and chemical damage like perms can create hair breakage. Nutritional deficiencies can attack the immune system, which can lead to hair loss as well.

Visible hair loss can cause you to be stressed, have low self-esteem, and feel anxious. Trying to cover and hide your edges can cause more harm than good. It is best to look for a solution that is affordable and safe. 

What Makes Edge Naturale Trustworthy?

So many expensive hair product companies make products that don’t deliver. You can end up becoming a hair product junkie, spending way too much on products that are full of chemicals, and fail your expectations. Edge Naturale Follicle Enhancer is easy to use, isn’t costly, and has natural ingredients. Essential oils can keep your hairline moisturized. Edge Naturale contains Argan and Jojoba oils. Argan oil is full of antioxidants and vitamin E. It can help to soothe a dry and itchy scalp. Jojoba oil contains vitamin B, vitamin C, copper, and zinc. It strengthens your hair. Edge Naturale has a unique blend of cruelty-free, naturally sourced elements that promote hair growth.

Easy To Use

Edge Naturale can be easily added to your hair regimen. Simply:

  1. Cleanse your edges and your problem areas with a warm, damp cloth. 
  2. Apply a thin layer of the follicle enhancer to your hair.
  3. Gently massage it in.

And that’s it! In only 30 days you should see results.

My Personal Results

I tried Edge Naturale with a skeptical mindset. I am always trying and testing hair products to see what will work for my locs and some products have not given many results. They just left me with a buildup and a headache. While using Edge Naturale I immediately felt a soothing sensation. It smells great. I applied it every day and I could see a difference after about a month of usage. My edges have grown back and my problem areas, mainly around the middle of my head have grown back. And the new growth is thick and soft.

I would personally recommend Edge Naturale Follicle Enhancer to anyone who needs help with hair growth, especially around their edges. It’s an amazing follicle stimulant cream that delivers results. 

Do you like what you see? Then try out this edge reviving formula: https://edgenaturale.com/products/follicle-enhancer

Featurism: A Growing Epidemic

Featured Image Credit: Raviyah Singh

Every time I scroll down my social media feed, I notice a pattern of which type of advertisements are shown to me. I usually search for other freelance writers of color so I can learn and grow from them. I guess Facebook and Instagram examines my data input. Their ads cater to my likes and dislikes. Chocolate models often pop up marketing various hair/beauty products. And although I love me some chocolate, I am often disappointed to see that the variety displayed lacks Afrocentric features.

ethniccolors
Image Credit: Raviyahsingh.weebly.com

What Is Featurism?

Featurism is “a prejudice towards individuals with certain features and a preference towards those with features that correlate with a set beauty standard.” Although colorism and featurism are closely linked, they need to be put in separate categories. If you watch fashion runways, you will quickly notice that although dark-skinned models are featured, the ones that are used more possess European features.

blackvs.white
Image Credit: Youtube

African models that are not biracial usually have bigger noses, and bigger lips. Those who have tighter coils, larger noses, and larger hips, are most likely to be excluded from mainstream fashion projects.

Self-hatred within the Black/African community is very real. And at times it can start with our facial features.

Back in the day when exclusive commercials in the United States where geared towards people of color, they would exaggerate our features. This has led to many older brands being pulled off the shelf. For example, Aunt Jemima’s pancake syrup. Quaker decided to remove the image and title after being flooded with customer’s complaints of its racist past.

auntjemima
Image Credit: Lovebscott.com

And featurism does not just end with black people. In Asia, going under the knife to have a double-eyelid surgery is popular. Many Asians do this so they can appear to have bigger eyes. Larger eyes conform more to Eurocentric features.

asian woman with tattoos
Photo by Ike louie Natividad on Pexels.com

Why Is Featurism So Problematic?

When you receive a lot of praise and likes online, but not in real life, you start to wonder: Is my version of black really beautiful?

It is estimated that 40 percent of black businesses will have no choice but to shut down during this coronavirus pandemic. As a black freelance blogger, this means that this pandemic will either make me or break me. A beauty blogger’s salary can range anywhere from $100 a month to $100,000 a month. But when I see Facebook or Instagram ads of the successful bloggers who claim to be millionaires, they are 9 times out of 10 women of European descent. Are talented Africans who look more African worth less?

whitebloggers

We need to promote self-love even in a world of hate. While others might find this time as an opportunity to riot, steal, and kill, we need to reinforce confidence in our black Queens. That means stop showing favoritism. Don’t tell your daughter that she is more prettier than your other daughter because her nose is more thinner and her curls are looser. And don’t tell your girlfriend that you broke up with her because her butt was not big enough. Stop with the hate. Promote love.

Personally, I find beauty in all shades and all races. Microaggressions coincide with racism. When you hate your own kind, your own kind, in the long run, gets paid less. So the next time you see someone who looks nothing like what you normally see on the T.V, complement them. We can all stop this self-hatred once we see that all-natural, unalterable features are made to be treated equal.

africanmodels
Image Credit: Pinterest

Sources: http://www.therotundaonline.com/opinion/we-need-to-recognize-featurism-and-its-effects/article_1c841d3c-4313-11ea-a12f-fb4b83810632.html

https://deardarkskinnedgirl.com/2020/05/04/what-is-featurism/

Colorism Is Not the Only Thing That's Problematic, So Is Featurism…

Support Liberian Face Masks

Since the coronavirus has hit Africa, there have been 47,131 cases, 1,845 deaths, and 15,796 recoveries. Liberia, a small west African country, has had its fair share of casualties. So far they have 166 confirmed cases and 18 deaths as of today, May 5, 2020. These statistics are based upon the cases that are reported. So many underserved communities in Liberia lack healthcare centers that can properly test residents.

liberianfacemask
Image Credit: dw.com

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Ebola epidemic claimed the lives of 4,810 Liberians. Thomas Nagbe is the director of infectious diseases and epidemiology department at Liberia’s public health institute. He admits that “not all counties are adequately prepared because of inadequate resources”. He also told Aljazeera News that only 1 ventilator exists in the country. Just one. A severe symptom of this virus is shortness of breath. More ventilators are needed for people to survive.

For lives to be saved, prevention is key. So many are setting up their sewing machines and creating face masks. The face masks are not only fashionable, they are saving lives.

The Bombchel Factory

An issue that remains within the fashion industry is staying above water. Many creatives, including those who sew, have to consistently market themselves to make a profit. It is a never-ending hustle. At the Bombchel factory, women are being trained to create clothes. With the pandemic growing, face masks are being made at a fast pace. Located in the heart of Monrovia, Bombchel is working hard to create face masks for their local community and the world. They teach women how to sew, and they also hold literacy classes. Skirts that are not being sold are being transformed into bright-faced masks. Their employee team is comprised of female Ebola survivors, rape survivors, and the deaf. They are a team of survivors that are doing all they can to save lives during this pandemic. The beautiful face masks are being made out of bold African prints.

shopbombchel
Image credit: Bombchel Factory

Since April 24, 2020, the Liberian government has mandated that everyone seen outside must wear a face mask. Cloth face masks must be washed regularly. Also, social distancing must be practiced. Wash your hands as much as possible. Keep a hand sanitizer by your side. And use disinfectant wipes on every surface that you can.

Support Liberians by buying face masks from the Bombchel factory. For every face mask purchased, one will be donated to someone who cannot quarantine at home.

bombchelfactory
Image Credit: Bombchel Factory

To learn more, visit: https://www.shopbombchel.com/collections/all/products/cloth-masks

Sources:

https://www.africanews.com/2020/03/26/coronavirus-young-liberians-make-african-print-masks-for-protection-no-comment/

https://allafrica.com/stories/202004290448.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/liberia-braces-coronavirus-defunct-health-system-200403134851258.html

https://www.dw.com/en/turning-face-masks-into-a-fashion-statement-in-africa/g-53291542

Rihanna Rocks A Classic African Hairstyle For Vogue

For the May 2020 issue of Vogue, Rihanna chose to represent with a beautiful, classic hairstyle.  Her hair was styled in what is called the Betsimisaraka hairstyle. Such homage brings awareness to the distinctive styles that women of color display.

rihannamadagascar2
Image Credit: UK Vogue

 

The Betsimisaraka Hairstyle Originates From Madagascar

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Image Credit: eBay

What makes this hairstyle so iconic, is the fact that Madagascar was discovered by women. Tropical and serene, this island is located off the east coast of Africa. The natives that inhabit the land carry Indonesian genes. A vessel arrived 1200 years ago on the island holding 30 women. It is a possibility that they sailed off course. Extensive DNA studies have traced today’s residents to these 30 women, who probably mated with African men who were already there. Indonesia and Madagascar have a distance of 5000 miles. So their trip across the Indian Ocean was quite a lengthy one.

madagascarwomen
Image Credit: Picuki

Madagascar prides itself on having a mixture of Asian and African descent. They have many tribes, one of them being Betsimisaraka. Plaiting hair is seen as important to one’s beauty among their women. The Betsimisaraka hairstyles includes 5 tufts, 2 on each side, and one behind. They also wear numerous plaits that are not fully braided at the end, as Rihanna modeled.

Gold and silver pins are sometimes put in their plaits, right above their forehead. Other ornaments used are crocodiles teeth, bones, or shells. In the late 19th or early 20th century, the way you wore your hair let people know your rank and financial level. The rich would wear many silver and gold ringlets in their hair. Married women would wear their hair twisted up. Unmarried women would let their hair flow over the shoulders. In the year 1822, the Europeans arrived, and they introduced their unique way of styling hair. But that did not stop the Madagascar women from wearing their native hairstyles.

A Barbados Singer Who Pays Tribute To Culture

“I feel like I have no boundaries. I’ve done everything – I’ve done all the hits, I’ve tried every genre – now I’m just, I’m wide open. I can make anything that I want.” – Rihanna

This is not the first time Rihanna has shown love for her people. Just recently she donated $700,000 to Barbados so her people can have respirators during this pandemic. And for the cover of her Limited edition i-D Rihannazin cover, she sported cornrows. Her stylist for both magazines was Yusef Williams, a British-Nigerian. Cornrows are another popular African hairstyle. They have been seen in ancient paintings dating back to the early 5th century BC.

rihannacornrows
Image Credit: i-D Magazine

Our motherland is where civilization started. So many inventions that began in Egypt have reached every corner of the globe. This includes different stylings of hair. How amazing. Our roots don’t only grow past our scalps. They have grown to touch many hearts.

madagascarhair
An African postal stamp, Image Credit: Dan’s Topical Stamp

 

What classic African hairstyle do you like to rock? Comment, like, and subscribe.

Sources:

https://www.seeker.com/madagascar-founded-by-women-1765687347.html

https://www.msn.com/en-za/lifestyle/lifestylebeautyandstyle/crowning-glory-rihannas-top-3-iconic-fashion-cover-looks/ar-BB120Xet

History of Madagascar, By William Ellis, Joseph John Freeman

Queen Boss: Madam C.J. Walker

Many self-made bosses jumped for joy when they heard about Netflix coming out with a new series, centering around the life of Madam C.J. Walker. It was inspired by her great-great grand-daughter A’Lelia Bundles’ biographical book “On Her Own Ground”. As Black History Month comes to an end, let’s all learn more about the first black female millionaire in America.

Humble Beginnings

Madame C.J Walker’s real name is Sarah Breedlove. She was born on December 23, 1867, on a cotton plantation in Louisiana. Her parents were slaves. By the time they had her they were free, which made her the first in her family to be a free-born child. By age 7 she was an orphan and by age 14 she got married. One of the reasons she married so young was because she was trying to escape an abusive household. By age 20 she was a widow and had a 2-year-old daughter.

Ambitious Spirit

Sarah knew she did not want to live a life of financial distress. Plus she had a baby looking up to her. So by 22, she moved to St. Louis Missouri. There she became a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she met many business-minded black men and women. This inspired her. She was a washerman only making a measly $1.50 a day, but she had dreams of building an empire.

By the early 1890s, Sarah had financial troubles and a scalp disorder. Her hair was falling out and she needed a solution. She became her own hero and created hair care treatments with home remedies. She used Annie Turbo’s Malone “The Great Wonderful Hair Grower”. Annie was a successful black hair care entrepreneur. She recognized her ambitious spirit and hired her as a sales agent.

From Rags To Riches

Sarah moved to Denver Colorado in 1905. There she fell in love with Charles Joseph Walker, an advertising agent, and got married again. With that marriage she reinvented herself, learning about marketing from her husband. She changed her name to Madam C.J Walker and created her own hair care line. Her husband was a great supporter. He was the driving force behind her getting promoted all across the country. Before she knew it, she went from making $1.50 a day to gaining thousands of customers and employing 3,000 workers. Indianapolis became the state where she relocated, and from there she built a factory for her products. She created countless job opportunities for women of color. She educated, trained, and encouraged many through her various clubs/conventions. With 40,000 workers in the United States, Central America, and the Carribean, she truly transformed herself into a self-made boss. Her net worth was the equivalent of several million dollars by her late 40s.

As she got older, she developed high blood pressure, which caused the health of her kidneys to deteriorate. But that did not stop her from being a kind, giving person. In her will, she asked that one-third of her money be given to her daughter. The remaining two-thirds was to be given to charity.

To this day there are hair products bearing her name. Madame C.J Walker Beauty Culture is available at Sephora retailers. The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in the remembrance of her. She proves that if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, your past does not determine your future.

madamc.j.walker

Sources:

Featured Image Credit: fromgirltogirl.com

https://www.biography.com/inventor/madam-cj-walker

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/madam-cj-walker

https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/madame-c-j-walker

How Cornrows Saved Slaves Lives

slavemaps
Image Credit: Face2Face Africa

Cornrows have a long history. They hold a lot of significance in African culture. It is worn by children, men, and women all around the world regardless of their ethnicity. Originally from the Sahara region, paintings show that this hairstyle has been worn even in 3000 B.C.

The most known way to wear it is straight down, which each cornrow paralleling each other. But it also can be worn uniquely in zig-zags or by mimicking the form of a snake.

In the Carribean region, it is called “canerows”. They do this to respect all of the slaves that planted sugar cane. What many World History classes won’t teach you, is that cornrows are lifesavers.

Cornrows Were Used As A Map To Escape

In many African communities, cornrows convey a person’s social status, age, marital status, and even their amount of wealth. Blackdoctor.org has written this about cornrows: “Depictions of women with cornrows have been found in Stone Age paintings in the Tassili Plateau of the Sahara, and have been dated as far back as 3000 B.C. There are also Native American paintings as far back as 1,000 years showing cornrows as a hairstyle. This tradition of female styling in cornrows has remained popular throughout Africa, particularly in the Horn of Africa and West Africa. Historically, male styling with cornrows can be traced as far back as the early nineteenth century to Ethiopia, where warriors and kings such as Tewodros II and Yohannes IV were depicted wearing cornrows.”

When the Atlantic Slave Trade occurred, millions of innocent civilians were stripped from the Motherland against their will. Some rebelled by jumping off the slave ship before they even arrived on the land. They viewed death as a better option than a life of being treated as property. Others who fought back where terminated immediately. And some cleverly used another approach.

Upon arriving on North/South American soil, slaves were forced to shave their heads. Slave owners claimed that the shaving of their heads was just for sanitary purposes, but it was more behind it. Thick African hair has a lot of weight to it. Some slave owners would say that our hair was “unruly” and a distraction. This was a tactic used by Whites to strip Africans of their identity and culture. But not every slave would keep their hair cut. Some would grow their hair out because they had a masterplan in mind.

Cornrows are styled in a neat and tidy way. The creative geniuses amongst us used this beautiful hairstyle as a map with directions to escape plantations. All across North and South America paintings have been seen of zig-zag cornrows. A story that proves this is the story of Benkos Bioho.

The Brave Benkos Bioho

KingBenkosBioho
Image Credit: Alchetron

Benkos Bioho was a King that was captured from Africa in the 17th century. He managed to find a port city on the Colombia Carribean coast. It took several attempts to escape from his masters. One day he finally managed to escape. He then proceeded to build San Basilio de Palenque.

This King strategically built a walled city within a foreign land that he was forced to be in. It was with the intent of saving slaves and giving them a place of refuge. A place that they can experience freedom while getting their lives together.

After building a village, he invented a new language. Then he got an army to assist others to freedom. He came up with the idea to create maps in cornrows.

Most slaves did not know how to read or write. And even if they did know how to read or write, if they were caught writing messages of escape, they would have to bear extreme punishment.

Cornrows were a way to communicate without getting caught.

Braids And Gold

Another informative fact that many do not know is that gold and seeds were hidden in slave braids. After escaping, to survive you needed food and money. So the seeds were used to plant their own crops. The gold was preserved so they could make transactions on their own land. Today San Basilio De Palenque still stands. It has a population of about 3500 people.

In this modern age, from West Africa to North Korea you can see humans showing off their own version of cornrows. We no longer have to hide gold in our hair. We can proudly intertwine them over our braids. The tradition of wearing this hairstyle will be popular for years to come.

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Image Credit: Youtube

Sources: https://face2faceafrica.com/article/how-cornrows-were-used-as-an-escape-map-from-slavery-across-south-america

https://www.edtimes.in/africans-used-to-hide-escape-maps-from-slavery-in-their-hairstyles/