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“Black Is King” Hair Ornaments: An Ode To The African Culture

Beyonce wears designer Jerome LaMaar’s hand-beaded Nigerian lace

Fashion is the dominant style within a given culture at a certain time. A typical exposè on Fashion and style is the just-released “Black is King” by the legendary Beyonce. “Black is King” treats us to a glorious feast for the eyes, that features the rich ranges of cultures and countries around Africa.

The entire direction of her artistry in terms of fashion is a nudge towards appreciating the various cultures and total diaspora of Africa.

In this light, the hairstyles in “Black is King” were inspired by various traditional African hairstyles. Most of these hairstyles have been passed on for generations, as a symbol of respect and for our ancestors and women.

These hairstyles aren’t just styles, they illustrate the story of our royal past, as well as recognise and celebrate the glory of here and now.

Lipombo- Congo
The braided crown was inspired by the Mangbetu people of the Eastern Congo, whose lipombo skull elongated technique represents royalty and status.

Mursi Tribe- Ethopia
A hairstyle worn in ‘Already “, a video off the album, was inspired by the horned heads and lip plates of the Dinka and Mursi people, who wear them as symbols of prestige and honour.

Bantu- Zulu
Another of Beyonce’s hairstyles used Bantu knots to pay respect to the Zulu people. The Bantu knots as seen on Queen Bey is a typical, traditional hairstyle that originates from the Zulu tribe of Southern Africa.

Twists- Senegal
The Senegalese twist pays homage to the people of Senegal. In Dakar, Senegalese twists represent not only fashion, but a status symbol coveted among west Africans, and have been worn all over the world.

Beyonce wearing Gele

Gele- Nigeria/Duku- Ghana
The emerald green and pink head wrap, popularly known as the Gele to the Nigerian culture and Duku to the Ghanaian culture is a traditional headdress that is popularly worn by the Eastern and Southern parts of Nigeria. A traditional headdress that can be worn over a blouse and wrapper or over a ceremonial dress. The queen Bey stylishly adorns this traditional headdress in a fashionable and modern way, yet sending a message across.

Xhosa Cattle Horn
The cattle horn can also be ascribed to the South African culture, specifically the Xhosa and the Zulu people, and their Nguni cattle.
The Nguni cattle are sacred and important to them as their ceremonial shields and attires are made from cowhide. The Cattle horn is also a symbol of danger or leadership.

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