In celebration of Black History Month, we want to share with you a few things you may have not known about the history of black hair! Let’s begin…
In the 15th century West Africa, hairstyles identified age, religion, rank, marital status and even family groups. For example, Nigerian housewives in polygamous relationships originated a the hairstyle ‘kohin-sorogun‘. This means ”turn your back to the jealous rival wife”. The pattern at the back was designed to tease their husbands’ other wives when seen from behind.
Cornrows in Africa was named after the pattern of corns in a field. This explains why this particular style symbolized agriculture, order and a civilized lifestyle.
Due to the Transatlantic slave trade, many African’s shaved their hair due to sanitary reasons. This was effectively losing a part of their identity. However, some African’s still had hair and those that did often braided it to keep their hair neat whilst working on plantations. They used substances like bacon grease to maintain hair due to the lack of products like they had back in Africa.
Another hairstyle rich in its African roots is Bantu knots. ‘Bantu‘ in many African languages, including Zulu and Swahili, means people. Originated by the Zulu people in South Africa, Bantu knots are also known as Zulu knots.
The term dreadlocks is sourced from the guerrilla warriors’ movement. They protested against cutting their hair until Haile Selassie, former Ethiopian Emperor was released from exile. The warrior’s hair became matted and gradually formed locks. The term dreadlocks was coined, due to the warriors being ”dreaded”. Today, many people just tend to call them locks.
We hope you found this post insightful. The history of black hair should be celebrated. Happy Black History Month! Visit our store for hair care products.