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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Braided, Beaded Belles

Beads and braids go together in perfect harmony. My friend once said, "Beads are a Black girl rite of passage". At the time I smiled at the cutely profound quaintness of this statement. Literally, maybe this is true for some but not all because not all black girls have braids or beads. Besides, since Black constitutes so many cultures, to call it an actual rite is a tad comical. But as with all sayings, there is some truth; I definitely rocked them back in the day. I remember a neighbor once shared in secret that her mom didn't know how to braid. I remember being utterly shocked. I couldn't wait to my mom braided and then beaded my hair. I remember suggesting how she could keep the beads on better by adding a rubberband through the last bead or by adding aluminum foil to each end as I'd seen other brown girls wear. I remember, long before I ever knew who Bo Derek was, running along and listening to the clink clank of my long, colorful beads. ;)

As you know now, I have fond memories of the style; and I love this inspiration. I swear when you look in the eyes of these girls you see nothing but possibility. And how well their braids fit them? I love it when that possibility has manifested into something positive. For instance, just look how far these beaded beauties have come.

I decided to do this post after watching 2 girls play a very complicated hand game. It looked like Patty Cake after red bull with complicated dance choreography. LOL! Anyway, they were cute and both had some kind of braids and beads.

NYU Professor Kyra D.Gaunt wrote
Cover photo by Raymond Depardon
Title: "USA,1981, New York City, Harlem District, 110th Street, Festival for the Police"

The Games Black Girls Play. Gaunt concludes that cheers, songs and chants orchestrated in conjunction with hand claps and foot stomps,teach girls "musical blackness," placing them socially in step with black tradition. The book examines the relationship between black girls' and pop culture (inconspicuously at times)and what their invisibility says about hip hop and music in the black community. You might think of "Mary Mack" differently. Many artist in pop culture/hip-hop have used these hand game rhymes as lyrics from Nelly to The Clipse. It's a worthwhile and charmingly lofty read.

If you watch this video below, you will smile. It is an ode to Black girls with natural hair. Umm inhale the nostalgia, marinate on fond memories, or just enjoy girls being pretty & happy, being themselves.


Ayoko said...

I just started putting my daughter's hair into beads and I just found out that my friend got literally upset and hotcombed her one year old's hair. The crazy part about it was that she asked her father if it was okay with him and he said it was fine.
I felt so horrible. But I needed to remind myself that I was being the best role model I can be for my own daughter.

Naturally Sophia said...

Oh yes exactly!