"Hip Hop can be a very powerful weapon to help expand young people's political and social consciousness. But just as with any weapon, if you don't know how to use it, if you don't know where to point it, or what you're using it for, you can end up shooting yourself in the foot or killing your sisters or brothers."
Hair braiding in Africa is a very ancient art going back thousands of years. As J.C. Peters notes in Braids, cornrows, dreadlocks, and hair wraps: An African continuum: "Hieroglyphs and sculptures dating back thousands of years illustrate the attention Africans have paid to their hair. Braids were etched into the back of the head of the majestic sphinx."
Every region of Africa has its own traditional styles. Ttribal groups would each have their own distinctive aesthetics. Hair braiding developed into complex patterns representing one’s social status, age group, and village affiliation. Many of the more elaborated styles were reserved for ceremonial occasions, such as weddings and other rites of passage.
The first few videos show the hair struggle of our sisters in Occupied Azania (South Africa).
Traditionally, hair braiding was a social event among women. Young girls began by having their female relatives braid their hair, and then they in turn practiced on their friends and younger relatives until they had learned the many elaborate styles of African hair braiding, many based in mathematics with elaborated geometric designs.
Hair braiding styles in in Africa represent a wide range of social, religious, kinship, status, age, and other attributes of identity. The act of braiding itself is an important and important means of transmiting cultural values between generations. The Gele adds beauty and elegance to every sister who wears it.
Africans have traditional create beautifully crafted textiles and fashions. Here are several fashion videos that represent the current development of the African textile industry.
The traditional African head wrap, or Gele, also dates back many millenia. Though not as wide spread on the continent, the Gele, is worn by many sisters, particularly in West Africa, on great occasions such as weddings. On the wedding day, the family of the bride can be distinguished from the groom’s family by the different colors of gele they wear. The colors are usually chosen from the wedding colors.
In Africa, there are many traditions attached to weddings and the preparation of the bride and groom for their special day. African weddings are an extended family affair that involve the joining of not only of two lives, but two families, and on many occasions, two communities. The wedding traditions in Africa are varied, no two traditions being exactly the same, but there are many underlying similarites that can be found throughout the continent.
Weddings can be very elaborate,often involving feasting and dancing for many days. For those preparing for a wedding, here are a few sites that provide information or products for African Weddings.
Africa Styles, Clothes and Accessories: http://www.africastyles.com/Weddings/african_wedding.html
The Melanet site offers a wide variety of garbs for special occasions. http://melanet.com/nff/fashionshow.html Here are two items from their collection.
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