A Bantu Knotted Week

There's this issue that has been brewing in my mind for some time now. This issue is on certain African hairstyles, such as, Bantu knots or plaiting of hair (cornrows). Lately I've been noticing that I don't see a lot of women wearing these hairstyles with pride. It seems like the only time we do these hairstyles is when we're either trying to curl, crochet or weave hair in. Bantu knots are known especially for curling the hair, while the plaited hair is used for curling, crochet or weaves. The only people I find going out with cornrows are young children, a few women and men.
So last week, I decided to go out with my hair in Bantu knots and I took note of some of the experiences I had. To be honest, it was hilarious to me.

1st day:
Saturday - I went to work and was turned back because my pants looked like jeans. (When they weren't, or do I need to upgrade my glasses prescription?) Convenient.
After that, I went for a photo shoot and the photographer was curious about my hairstyle, so I explained to her the inspiration behind it and she encouraged me.

2nd day:
Twas a Sunday - Do I wear a hat? Or scarf??
Hat it was, with 2 knots in the front refusing to be concealed. Great experience really... 😑 (not).

3rd day:
Monday - Couple of compliments and a few roasting from some friends. Apparently, I looked like a character from Rugrats lol. No offense taken because I agree.

4th day:
Tuesday - More compliments from friends and strangers. Although the stares on my morning commute are enough to make me put my hat on. During class, some speakers came to speak in my class and after their presentation, they decided that they would take a selfie with the class. At first I was worried about how I looked. I didn't think I was prepared for a photo because of my Bantu knots, but since I have no choice, I posed proudly for the camera. When I found the photo on their Facebook page, I realized what a great idea and how beautiful it looked on my head.

5th day,
Wednesday - A friend asked, “When are you going to take your Bantu knots out? I wanna see the results.” I replied that this wasn't a pretty hairstyle situation. This is it. This is my hairstyle. When I take out the curls, I plan to comb the curls out.
Wednesday afternoon - I was preparing for a campus event later in the night, and the words of my friends echoed in my mind. “When are you going to take your Bantu knots out? I wanna see the results.” In all honesty, I wanted to see how curly it would be, so I began to unravel the knots to see the results. I hated the results. The hair was curly, but it just did not match my expectations. I wanted to put my hair back in the knots, but I was tired of touching it so I pinned my hair up and started to fantasize about chopping off all the hair on my head.
Wednesday evening - It was almost time to go to the event. I looked in the mirror, while I waited for a homie, and I realized the curls were beginning to drop in an annoying manner. My hair happens to do this because of a lack of hold spray and its relaxed state. I resolved to allow the hair do whatever it wants.

6th day:
Thursday morning - No Bantu knots in my hair. Just a pinned up mess. I didn't care, I went out like that. When I got to the subway station, I noticed a young girl, who is most likely in high school, wearing Bantu knots. I quickly recalled that she always rode the subway train at the same time I do every morning. Am I wrong to assume that I may have inspired the young girl? Or has she never noticed me a day in her life. Whatever, I'll take the credit, dammit.

7th day:
Friday - My hair doesn’t look like it was ever twisted. I’m over it.

Conclusion: This was a great experience, I now have 1 more hairstyle added to my list of go to hairstyles. I do still have some very important things to say.
Cornrow styles (or as some of us Africans call it "plaiting" of hair) are used for beautifying the hair. Not for crochet hairstyles and weaves only. They were never designed to be covered up.

I believe we as women should be proud to step out of the house with our hair knotted, cornrowed, curled or straightened, whichever one we happen to be in the mood for.
I'll be happy with the "Natural Hair Movement" when I can cornrow or Bantu knot my hair without being asked whether or not I am trying to curl it or planning to get weave or crochet oh and not having to deal with weird looks from our dear "naturalistas"




Photo by Jaclin Paul

Odabọ (bye for now),

Oluwanitori

Comments

  1. I love your bantu knots and I can tell you the struggle is real. I have people touching my hair most of the time just to feel it whether I'm in bantu knots or just letting my for be. I wear this kind of style very often since school is stealing all my time away from me. It's easy to maintain too. And I'm always proud of my crown, Always

    Michelle
    http://twenty7bymichelle.com/slouchy-green-sweater/

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    Replies
    1. Yes!! I love this style too!! I don't have to touch it all week! and when it take it out, I get my curls which are always amazing.

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  2. Love it! I also love your gorgeous background and how it blends into the article :)

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