Sunday, 9 October 2011

Cornrows at McQueen show, backstage.

Cornrows, also known as braids, are a traditional African style of hair grooming where the hair is braided very close to the scalp, using an underhand, upward motion to produce a continuous, raised row. Cornrows are often formed, as the name implies, in simple, straight lines, but they can also be formed in complicated geometric or curvilinear designs.

This clay sculpture with cornrows is from the ancient Nok civilization of Nigeria. It may be as old as 500 B.C.
Like many other “Africanisms” in the new world, knowledge of African hairstyles survived the Middle Passage. Heads were often shaved upon capture, ostensibly for sanitary reasons, but with the psychological impact of being stripped of one’s culture. Re-establishing traditional hair styles in the new world was thus an act of resistance; one that could be carried out covertly:

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