This is a clip from the full video interview for this week’s CREATIVE SPACE (CREATIVE SPACE #19 OF 2022: THE “HEADKERCHIEF”; HERITAGE, FASHION, CELEBRATION, AND RESISTANCE). CREATIVE SPACE is my art and culture column. It runs every other Wednesday in Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper and the extended edition with EXTRAS runs here on my blog (because you know newspapers have their word and column limits).
This entry uses fashion (headwrapping) to explore African-Caribbean traditions – honestly, it touches on food, dress, language, hair, the whole head – our roots in Africa and how we were transformed by colonization. That the Black head and the Black body was legislated away from itself in ways big and small is part of the conversation. The cultural transformation of which this headwrapping tradition is a part, then becomes about reclaiming something that was lost… while looking fly.
This particular clip raises the question of who gets to decide what’s appropriately professional when so much of what’s considered appropriately professional is seeped in western standards of what’s appropriate. This sentiment actually made me think of an earlier CREATIVE SPACE (CREATIVE SPACE #2 OF 2022: THE CII™ OF PUBLIC SECTOR DRESS CODES) inspired by my difficulty getting in to the Transport Board building to renew my driver’s license with “arm sleeve” (bare arms).
This interview was not inspired by but certainly intersected with another sartorial taboo – a child was denied her place in kindergarten (?) because of loc’d hair setting off public conversation about rules and history, and for my part anti-Blackness and self-rejection and its roots in colonialism.
So, yeah, we’re talking about headwrapping and her headwraps are beautiful, and beautifully demonstrated in the video, but in doing so we’re talking about so much more. I hope you’ll check it out (share, comment, and all that good stuff).
ETA: Forgot to add, this is the 5th time CREATIVE SPACE has made the cover of the Daily Observer and the first for 2022. It’s always validating to see art and culture out front.