Head wraps are life! They save us from bad hair days and basic outfits. But these accessories are bigger than fashion. "Head wraps originated in various parts of Africa, particularly in West Africa," according to PBS, usually showing one's social, economic and/or marital status. The head wrap continued to evolve during American slavery, from an "object of oppression" to "a vehicle of empowerment and a memento of freedom."
In her Cornell study about the African American woman's head wrap, Helen Bradley Griebel explores this rich, complicated history: "The simple head rag worn by millions of enslaved women and their descendants has served as a uniform of communal identity; but at its most elaborate, the African American woman's headwrap has functioned as a 'uniform of rebellion' signifying absolute resistance to loss of self-definition."