Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Excerpts From Several Online Articles About "Fulani Braids" & Other Black Females' Braiding With Beads Hairstyles

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III in a four part pancocojams series that provides information about African originated or African inspired braided hairstyles for females.

This post presents excerpts from several online articles about Black females' braided hairstyles that are inspired by Fulani and/or other African culture. Selected comments from one of these articles are also included in this post.

Click for Part I of this series. Part I includes my transcription Of a November 1979 Ebony Magazine article about the emerging popularity among African American adults of unadorned braids or braids with beads. Part I also showcase several videos of African American performing artists wearing their hair in braids with beads, cowrie shells, and/or other ornaments.

Click for Part II of this series. Part II presents excerpts from several online articles about Fulani (African) culture and showcases videos about Fulani culture with special focus on Fulani females' beaded hairstyles. The Addendum to that post showcases a video of Nigerian Afrobeats singer Yemi Alade wearing her hair in one of the traditional Fulani hairstyles for women.

Part IV showcases three African American hair tutorial videos about "Fulani braids" with beads and/or other ornaments. Selected comments from these videos' discussion threads are also included in that post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural purposes.

All copy rights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the authors of these featured articles.

The term "Fulani braids" that has been used since around 2016 in the United States and probably elsewhere refers to a number of different braided hairstyles for Black females that have beads and/or other ornaments added to the braids. These hairstyles are said to be inspired by the Fulani ethnic group of West Africa and the Sahel.*

As used in the United States, "Fulani braids" hairstyles are said to be inspired by traditional Fulani hairstyles for females, but aren't necessarily the same as those traditional hairstyles. One significant difference is that traditional Fulani braids are much shorter than the length of braids in the United States.

These braided with beads hairstyles have sometimes also been referred to as "Alicia Keys braids", after the African American R&B/Soul singer and pianist who popularized that hairstyle in the video of her 2001 hit record "Fallin'". However, hairstyles that are braided with or without beads, cowrie shells, and/or other ornaments has long been a custom for Black girls in the United States and throughout much of the world. Furthermore, a few African American performing artists have worn long braids with beads since the mid 1970s.
*"The Sahel part of Africa includes (from west to east) parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon, Central African Republic and extreme north of Ethiopia.

Historically, the western part of the Sahel was sometimes known as the Sudan region.[5] This belt was roughly located between the Sahara and the coastal areas of West Africa."

Excerpt #1
"21 Best Protective Hairstyles for Black Women
By KimL | April 25, 2016
"When looking at the best protective hairstyles for black women, you want something that’ll actually do the trick – give you a way to wear your hair how you want to while causing minimal damage and moisturizing or rehydrating the hair at the same time."
That article provides a brief description of 21 protective hairstyles and also includes photographs of those styles. "Fulani Braids" aren't included in that article, probably because that term wasn't as widely used in 2016 as it is in 2018.

Excerpt #2:
From [page 1 of 12 pages] 12 Beautiful Fulani Braid Styles To Inspire Your Next Hairdo
June 5, 2017 | By Brande Victorian
"Summer’s nearly here, which means for many of us it’s time to put our own hair away and bring out the braids. Every summer a different type of braid in in style. Box braids, Senegalese twists, Havana twists, Marley twists, crochet braids, and even faux locs have all had their moment, but this season it’s all about Fulani braids.

The traditional West African style has gained widespread popularity among Black women in the states for its intricate designs and use of beading to accentuate the braids. I gave Fulani braids a try on my recent excursion to South Africa and since then I’ve seen many women on the street and on the ‘gram rocking the beautiful style. It’s a given I’ll be trying this look again soon, and if you’re considering it too, here are a few styles to inspire you."...
"on the 'gram" = on instagram
Here are some comments from this article's discussion thread:

All of these comments are from June 2017. They are numbered for referencing purposes only.
1. cutitout
"Hopefully this will not become a trend. Can you imagine the annoying clickedy-clacking of all them damned beads? And all the broken pelvises and sprained ankles in the club from people slipping on the beads and shells....."

2. Wallander's theme
"I wore cornrows with beads - as a kid - in middle school/jr. high (1980s) and I really enjoyed the sound of the beads and fidgeting with them while reading or doing class work. However, they are not compatible with sports! You would swing your head around to get a make a pass on the basketball court and end up lashed across the face or forehead by the dadgum beads. oh well. I wouldn't wear the style as an adult, though."

3. hi-liter
"Sure didn't stop Venus or Serena."
Venus and Serena [Williams] are African American tennis champions.

4. Wallander's theme
"And I always wondered about that. Sure, they were wearing their hair shorter back then, but even with your hair tied back, the beads are heavy and inconvenient for sports."

5. itswhatever321go
"To each their own. I can do without the beads. I hated them when I was a kid, and as an adult I'd probably hate them now."

6. OpinionHated
"this look is cute for twenty-somethings - I would feel like a young yam wearing my hair in any of those styles... ask a a bajan what a young yam is or look it up on bajan slang site...."

Excerpt #3:
"Braids are an easy and so pleasant way to forget about hair styling for months, give your hair some rest and protect it from harsh environmental factors. Besides, with the awesome hairstyles listed below you will attract attention, admiring glances and sincere smiles.

Braided hairstyles make space for creativity. There are many interesting braiding techniques to make every head unique. Besides, you can experiment with highlights, natural or curly texture, clips, patterns, shapes, etc.

Natural perm and hair thickness is your big plus and a unique bonus that you simply can’t leave unused. Your hair, that you might have been complaining of before, is created for braids. So why not to use this idea to your advantage?

African hair braiding is very versatile: microbraids, cornrows, fishtail braids, blocky braids, black braided buns, twist braids, tree braids, hair bands, French braids and more are at your disposal. Once you pick a desired braiding style, thickness and have your hair braided, you may shape your braids into gorgeous hairstyles both for every day and special events.

Researchers say that braids were “in fashion” even 2000 years b.c. If they have survived till our time, there definitely must be something special in them, don’t you think? No wonder, every year world-famous designers experiment with braids at fashion shows."...
This article continues with descriptions about and photographs of "popular trends in Black Braided Hairstyles".

Excerpt #4:
From Here's Why Kim Kardashian Crediting Her Fulani Braids To Bo Derek Is Problematic by SAMANTHA CALLENDER Feb, 05, 2018
"Braids have long been the de facto hairstyle of the African diaspora. Originally a tribal signifier amongst African tribes, the technique was brought across the Atlantic during slavery and is now a go-to protective style for Black women.

There's no arguing that braids have played a critical role in Black hair culture, which is why when celebrities, namely Kim Kardashian, chose to credit the style to Bo Derek, a white actress, we have a problem.

Named after the Fula people, the largest ethnic group across West Africa and Sahel, Fulani braids are characterized by forward-facing plaits with one or two large braids going back down the center. Often adorned with some type of gem, bead, or metal the braiding technique and style became widely known for its intricacy and stark difference from cornrows.

The style remained popular among the Fula people and children of the African diaspora. Many of us may recall seeing the hairstyle reemerge in the early 00’s after a talented new artist known as Alicia Keys, hit the scene wearing them. The look became iconic for Keys, who quickly rose to fame while sporting Fulani braids.

Considering the rich and extensive history of the hairstyle (that you can easily Google) it should come as no surprise that Black women are both confused and enraged at the fact that Kardashian recently posted a series of selfies to Instagram and credited Bo Derek for the look.


t's important to remember that it was only last year that Army Regulation 670-1 was repealed. This regulation described natural hair as matted and unkempt and restricted black women from natural hairstyles including twists, dreadlocks, Afros and braids while deployed. Black women have always been criticized when culturally expressing themselves. This is particularly true when that expression is manifested through their hairstyles.”...
"Bo Derek" is a White American actress who starred in the 1979 movie "10". In that movie, Bo Derek was filmed running on the beach with microbraids (then referred to as "cornrows") with beads at their end. Click for a clip of that scene.

Click for an article about Bo Derek and this hairstyle. Here's a longish excerpt from that article
..."Since she ran down that beach, hair braided, in the 1979 movie 10, Bo Derek probably gets more credit for popularizing cornrows than anyone. A 1980 People article cited Derek as the catalyst for making cornrows a “cross-cultural craze” and a “beauty store bonanza.” As a result, the hairstyle’s origins in African-American culture have sometimes been overlooked — as in this Los Angeles Times debacle from earlier this year. So when New York caught up with the actress at the premiere of FX’s Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, we asked what she thought of the hairstyle, cultural appropriation, and whether she’d ever considered her role in it all.

Her answers were … minimal.

She remarked that, like Andy Cohen, she found the Jenner controversy “stupid,” and noted that race never came up around discussions of her 10 cornrows. “It’s a hairdo! That’s all it is,” she exclaimed.

When asked about the hairdo’s origins (in the same People piece a black woman named Ann Collins gets credit as 10’s official braider), Derek responded that she “knew where it came from, but that had nothing to do with doing it.”

Her final comment: “No, seriously, of all the important racial and cultural issues we have right now, people are going to focus on a hairstyle? No, no. I’ll save my efforts toward important racial and cultural issues.”
Click "Kim Kardashian Wears Cornrows and Calls Them "Bo Derek Braids" This is not ok."
Teryn Payneat Teen Vogue, JAN 29, 2018 for an article that is specifically about Kim Kardashian crediting Bo Derek for braids with beads.

This concludes Part III of this pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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