Guess what has been declared the next trend? Cornrows. Yep, you read that correctly. The Los Angeles Times recently published an article about head-turning hair fashions for the fall and cornrows have made the list. I know, I know, try not to laugh or roll your eyes.
Here’s how things kick off:
Move over, Bo Derek. Far from the bead-bedecked cornrows and plaits the actress wore in the 1979 film “10,” cornrows with a punk vibe have shown up recently on model Cara Delevingne, singer Rita Ora and actress Kristen Stewart, as well as on the Alexander McQueen, DKNY and Marchesa runways. Madeline Brewer in “Orange Is the New Black” was another forerunner of the trend.
Pause. Please. No, don’t even pause. Just stop. Stop this madness. Stop with this list of white women who have worn cornrows as if they were the ones who started wearing them in the first place.
But it gets worse:
“Cornrows are moving away from urban, hip-hop to more chic and edgy,” says Reyman. “There were spiral cornrows at Alexander McQueen, and I did fishtail cornrows woven with fabric. I have also been incorporating cornrows into center parts and side parts. Just one cornrow or a couple on the side is really cool [as opposed to a headful], but they have to be on the right person with the right clothing. Obviously, McQueen is very gothic and strong, so that customer is looking for that Elizabethan or ‘Game of Thrones’ edginess.
Excuse me? Moving away from urban, hip-hop to chic and edgy? What about the millions of Black women who started getting braids and cornrows when they were little girls and continue the tradition with their own children? What about all of us who sat between our mother (or family member’s legs) or in a hairdresser’s chair if you’re fancy and had to endure the combing, the pulling, the twisting and the braiding? And when it was finally done we came out looking fabulous and fresh and ready for the week ahead. Can these be called urban and hip-hop experiences?
Oh. Wait. Let me guess, those are just code words for all things Black. Because for white people to claim something, it means that they have to redefine it to fit their personal standards and needs. VOGUE declared that big butts are now the in thing. White people recently discovered gelling down baby hairs and finger waves. And now, cornrows are chic and edgy.
It seems that Black people can’t have anything, any piece of our culture that remains pure and that can stay with us, without it being stolen, renamed and made to fit mainstream’s whims. But also, the old saying is true that everybody wants to be Black, but nobody really wants to be Black. They would rather take the flyest pieces of us, those that are the easiest to emulate and leave the hard stuff, the weight of being Black to us. Cornrows and braids aren’t trends, but what Black women have been doing with our hair for years. They are never not in season or out of style.
And as always what we do is cool enough to copy, but never cool enough for us to get the credit.
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.