Fulani Tribe of Senegal
With the continuously growing trend to go natural black women across the world are opting for low-maintenance protective styles such as braids, corn rows, faux locs and twist. Braids have been heavily decorated since the beginning of time and the African tribal tradition has been passed down through generation, right through to modern day styling. Thanks to immigrants who’ve traveled and settled in various parts of the world, this ‘Channel your inner goddess’ look has even landed up on fashion runways and red carpets.
Few celebrities like the unique Miss Erykah Badu have been seen rocking this bold trend though my fondest and earliest memories of beaded braids are that of tennis duo Venus and Serena Williams. Can you imagine two dark skinned black girls slaying the tennis court while serving black girl magic with their excessively multi-coloured beaded braids?! It can’t get any better than that!
Venus and Serena Williams
I also reminisce on seeing images of 70s music icon Stevie Wonder adorning neatly braided cornrows with stunning jewels. What gave me goose bumps about his choice of hair was that it was a man giving us all this be-jeweled braid envy.
Ladies of the 70s
Let’s also not forget when Alicia Keys’ debuted her music career with her hit ‘Falling’ wearing the most memorable beaded corn rows. She went on to 100% modernise and own the eccentric look. It’s funny how somewhat 18 years later we’re still catching on. Alicia’s hairstyles have been my go-to for hair-spiration for the longest time now.
It is safe to say the rise of what I like to call the “Unapologetic black hair” movement has been championed by Solange. I personally felt a strong sense of freedom when I heard myself singing along to her anthem ‘Don’t touch my hair’:
“don’t touch my hair… /don’t touch my crown… /they don’t understand what it means to me… /you know this hair is my shit
rolled the rod I gave it time
but this here is mine… /don’t touch my pride they say the glory’s all mine…”
Since then I have gained the courage to wear my hair exactly as it grows out my scalp and style it in any way I like.
If like me you like your corn rows long then why not go all out and decorate them! You can hit up your local craft store to choose from a selection of beads, chains, shells, crystals, metal jewels, charms and cuffs. Beyoncé’s Lemonade braids (yes that’s right! they’re called Lemonade braids) are the reason why I particulary like my braids extra-long and flowing down my back.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Issa Rae and FKA Twigs
What do braids mean to me?
This hairstyle will go down as one of my favorite because 1. These braids are butt long, just how I like them and 2. These beads are just so in your face!
When I was picking out these beads with my colleagues on our lunch break one of them looked over and said “Wow Angie! Those are so loud!” Those words almost deterred me but after weeks of scrolling through pictures of beautifully decorated braids on Pinterest I decided to just go with it.
It’s truly amazing how you can empower others by simply being yourself. It’s encouraging to see a person admire something on you or about you and hear them say “oh I wanna try that!” They look at you with a sense of ‘if she can do it so can I!’ You set others free by setting yourself free.
In this world of trends we see on social media be brave enough to boldly be you. You don’t have to follow suit with all the social trends that are deemed to be cool or acceptable. To be honest it all looks exactly the same. Go the road less traveled- its never crowded there. You’ll have enough space and freedom to be, to explore and a whole lot less pressure to keep up. Besides, keeping up is costly on more than just financial levels. You never know who’s not only looking up to you but who’s also rooting for you.
“Being yourself should be so ordinary that it starts to seem extraordinary.” -Khanyi Mbau.
My inspiration: Isoken Enofe-Asemota (click here for her Instagram)
For more Beaded Braids styles click here.
My Outfit Details: dress- Rage/ sun glasses- Call It Spring/ necklace- borrowed/ beads- Beads ‘n Things
Thank you for reading and do share your unique braid styles with me on Instagram @angietinashe.
Have a blessed evening. XX