If you missed my first post on the history of the head tie you can read it here http://reneholiday.com/when-head-ties-were-the-law-for-black-women/ . That will catch you up to speed. This post starts after slavery had ended. What the views of the head tie were at that point in history.
When slavery ended, black woman were no longer bound by law to wear head ties. They were seen as reminders of the horrifies of slavery. The head tie was looked down upon. The older Black women continued to wear their head ties. For them, the head tie was a way to still be connected to Africa. The younger Black women wanted nothing to do with the head tie. They were embarrassed by them and they were reminders of their lives in servitude.
At this point in history, Black women are also now being told they need to assimilate. They need to conform to European beauty standards. Not only wear their hair uncovered, but to straighten their hair as well. As the 1900’s approach, the Black Mammy character hit the scene as well as Aunt Jemima. Both depicting happy jovial black women, who are more than happy to care for and serve white families. Everything young free black women did not want to be associated with. For them to be accepted in society, they had no choice but to conform.
They straightened their hair with hot combs, and they straightened their hair with chemical relaxers. The only time they wore a head tie was to bed. This would go on until the 1960’s. Then the Black Pride Movement came into effect. For the first time, black women are told their natural hair is beautiful. For the first time, black women are embracing their African heritage. Which included wearing head ties and headwraps. They removed the stigma behind the head tie, and proudly wore it as a symbol of Black Pride.
I believe it pissed off quite a few white people. In a way it became a silent protest. The head tie was Ours, and ours only. What had been created with the intention to humiliate and degrade Black women, was now worn with so much pride. It became a symbol of strength. “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud.” -James Brown
The Black Pride Movement was the stepping stone to what we are now seeing today. Along the way icons such as Nina Simone and Maya Angelou wore them proudly. Cicely Tyson as well. Erykah Badu and Lauren Hill helped make the head tie more mainstream. All of these black women played a part in the popularity of headwraps that we are seeing today.
I have personally been wearing headwraps for almost 20 years now. My headwrap journey began when I needed a way to keep my then waist long dread locs off of my back and out the way. When I decided I wanted to create and launch my own line of headwraps https://sunflowershoneypots.com/, that’s when my curiosity peaked about the history of the head tie. Now knowing what I know, every single time I tie a headwrap on I give a nod to my ancestors who didn’t have a choice in wearing it. I walk down the street with an extra pep of swag in my step.