The History of the Headwrap

Headwrap iduku












What was once known as a symbol of oppression has become a symbol of strength, beauty, and acceptance.


Headwraps were given to black female slaves by their slave masters as a symbol of their inferiority in beauty and social standing. However, the women changed this form of oppression into a way of secretly communicating with each other using the folds in their headwraps. Women displayed admirable strength as they resisted by turning the headwrap into a vibrantly decorated fashion statement defying the negative connotations imposed on them.


Even back then, as is now, women continue to wear headwraps in resistance to modern-day oppression and distorted standards of beauty and to show pride in who they are as women of color.


Headwraps have been incorporated into many African cultures to represent many different things and celebrate different occasions. With new different and interesting ways to style headwraps, (Nigerian women call them geles, Ghanaians call theirs dukus, South African and Namibian women call them doek)


Headwraps are more than a fashion statement, they are now a symbol of equality, inclusivity and celebration. Standing the test of time and oppression, headwraps are a testament to the phrase, “Black is Beautiful.”