Style

9 Headwraps and Hats That Will Keep you Cute and Cozy This Winter

In our sixth gift guide, we give you nine black owned headwrap and hat brands to keep your head warm and hair protected.

This is our sixth gift guide in the run-up to the holidays. Keep checking for more lists of great African products here. And for more ideas check out the Okayafrica Shop


 

As the weather outside gets frightful (on our end of the hemisphere), it's time for us to start planning ways to nurture our hair. This means a number of things: scheduling a salon appointment to install a protective hairstyle, or rather, styling it ourselves; amping up our moisture and conditioning regimens, and switching up our personal style to cater to the changing weather—with the help of some chic accessories.

The most popular (and my favorite!) go-to accessories for protective styling are headwraps and hats. Headwraps are dope because we can mold it into different shapes to match our outfits and mood. Hats are awesome because they’re versatile: you can wear a beanie with an oversized sweater, or a bowler hat with high waisted jeans and a printed blouse. With both accessories, you have the option of wearing a bang, or letting some locs hang loosely in the back. Add a pair of glasses, sleek eyeliner and a stunning matte lippie and you’re ready to conquer the rustling wind, snow and rain that awaits in the months to come.

We rounded up a list of black-owned businesses that make headwraps and hats for all your fashion-forward winter goals.

1. Fanm Djamn

Photo via Famn Djamn's 'Autumn Dream'n' lookbook. Photo by Alejandro Cerdena.

Founded by Paola Mathe, Fanm Djamn, meaning “strong woman” in Haitian Kreyol, is an online outlet that sells hand-made headwraps, original jewelry, bags and clothing. Their headwraps, both vibrant and regal, are fit for all styles and aesthetics.

Shop Fanm Djamn Here

2. Natural Born Hats

Photo via Natural Born Hats' Instagram page.

Used to wearing satin caps under your hats? Well, this hat brand eliminates that step, with their satin-lined headwear that protects your tresses while keeping your head warm.

Shop Natural Born Hats Here

3. Constant Covering

Photo via Constant Covering's Instagram page.

For some with different abilities, it can be a hassle to create the intricate headwrap designs many people rock effortlessly. At Constant Covering, you can order pre-tied, satin-lined headwraps that come in bow and knot shapes, as well as reversible and denim styled headwraps.

Shop Constant Covering Here

4. Baby Buddah Bug

Photo via Baby Junie's Instagram page.

This one is for all of the Teyana Taylor fans. The dancer-singer-rapper-mom started a headwrap company dedicated to her daughter, Junie. At Baby Buddah Bug, you’ll find an array of teeny-tiny headwraps for the little fashionistas in your life.

Shop Baby Buddah Bug Here

5. D Piper Twins

Photo via D Piper Twins' Instagram page.

Looking for hats that have the flair of headwraps but the comfort of a beanie? D Piper Twins’ hats are half African print, half comfy hat. These are perfect for days when you want to amplify your outfit with a cool pattern, but also want to brave a snowy day.

Shop D Piper Twins Here

6. The Wrap Life

Photo via The Wrap Life's website.

Perhaps the most well-known headwrap brand right now, The Wrap Life features eclectic wraps with colors from all over the rainbow and then some. In addition, you’ll find faux septum rings, hair jewelry and sacred items to cleanse your home and stimulate your senses.

Shop The Wrap Life Here

7. Caheez

Photo via Caheez's Instagram page.

Caheez features chunky crochet hats and cowl scarves lined with luxurious satin. Found in a range of bright, funky colors, they’re sure to turn up your winter.

Shop Caheez Here

8. Africanly Fab

Photo via Africanly Fab's Instagram page.

If you're like me, and seriously can’t get enough of African headwraps, here’s another brand to check out. Africanly Fab has bold headwraps with artistic designs and patterns.

Shop Africanly Fab Here

9. Simone Evans

Photo via Simone Evans' Instagram page.

Inspired by tie dye prints? Simone Evans’s fabrics are swirling with complex tie dye blends. She sells kimonos, robes and wraps that can be reconstructed into unique headwraps.

Shop Simone Evans Here

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This Afro-Feminist Marching Band Is Challenging Negative Stereotypes of Black Women In Paris

30 Nuances de Noires is fighting the erasure of black women in public spaces one march at a time.

If you stroll through the streets of Paris and its suburbs and stumble across a parade of black women wearing shiny outfits, singing and dancing, consider yourself lucky: you've just come across the Afro-feminist marching band '30 Nuances de Noires' (30 Shades of Black).

The band was created by dancer and choreographer Sandra Rose Fanchine. Tired of the erasure of black women in the public space and of the negative stereotypes associated with them, Fanchine has brought women (and a few men) together in this project. Professional and amateur singers, dancers and musicians, they have all accepted to embark on this journey and use their talents to launch this much-needed conversation in France.

Sandra Rose FanchinePhoto by SEKA photography

The band's musical coordinator, Célia Wa, is a flautist, singer and composer. When Fanchine invited her to take part in the project, she was very enthusiastic to have the opportunity to play alongside other black female musicians and take part in something that portrays black women in a positive light and in a flamboyant way. She was also keen to play alongside other black female musicians and coordinate them, outside, in the public space, where music is accessible to everyone. But it wasn't easy going. "It's hard to find women who play wind instruments" she explains. "But especially black women. So, we decided to incorporate a few black men musicians—men who understand the meaning of the project and support us. They don't try to dominate the space, they wear dresses and headwraps, they really blend into the group."

Célia WaPhoto by SEKA photography

Wa hopes the project will encourage many young girls to become professional musicians by showing them that being a fulfilled woman, having a music career and a family life, is possible.

Awori is the singer of the band Kamiawori, and a singer and dancer in the parade. She accepted Fanchine's invitation to join the band because she realized a brass band made of women—especially black women—was something unique that she wanted to be part of. "Throughout history, women had been forbidden to play wind instruments because blowing into those instruments was assimilated to a sexual act", says Kamiawori. "As a result, nowadays, the majority of people playing these instruments are men, so the fact that Sandra was looking for black women only was really appealing to me".

Earlier this year the band had the chance to travel to French Guiana to do a performance with black Guyanese women. This is the kind of future she wants for the project. "I want us to go to places in France where there aren't many black people, as well as to the former French colonies and the French overseas territories," she says. She hopes the project will start conversations everywhere, and empower black women to talk about their issues in their own words and organize their own emancipation.

AworiPhoto by SEKA photography

***

Read on for our conversation with Sandra Rose Fanchine. This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

I'm 51 years old, I was born in Martinique and grew up in Côte d'Ivoire. I'm a hip-hop dancer and choreographer. I first came to France 22 years ago to study graphic design but along the way, I found hip hop and started dancing out of passion. With my background in graphic design, I knew I was going to be a choreographer eventually, I was convinced I could use hip hop beyond its performance aspect, bringing my visual artist's knowledge to it and using it to promote a narrative. So, when the age of maturity came, I became a choreographer. My first work considered the social construction of femininity, and I then created a piece which dealt with the memory of the black body. 30 Nuances de Noires is my third choreographic work.

Where did the idea of "30 Nuances de Noires" come from?

It came from my professional frustration as a black woman. When I was looking for a job after my studies, my graphic design work was very culturally influenced by my life in Martinique and Côte d'Ivoire. I was proud to show the aesthetics and the colors, to me it was beautiful but it wasn't seen as such, it was seen as something unworthy and my work was always devalued.

I also had to face that devaluation in my personal life. I wanted to partner up with a black man, but I could see that black men didn't value me, didn't give me space and in general chose to have solid relationships with white women. I am light-skinned so I used to pass black men's colorist filters, but this privilege stopped as soon as commitment was mentioned. I looked around me and saw a pattern in the way black men treated black women, in the way people in general treated black women, how we were looked down upon. I wanted to create something about that topic.

Photo by SEKA Photography

Why did you choose that name?

I chose that name to criticize the movie 50 shades of Grey, which from a feminist point of view is a sexist and misogynist movie, that glamorizes violence against women. Moreover, black women, in the global conception related to sexuality and sentiments, are continually eroticized in a very specific way: animalization, exotification and fetishization. I chose to reclaim these stigmas, just as Audre Lorde writes about in the chapter of her book Sister Outsider named "the use of eroticism, and the use of anger: the response of women to racism."

How did the people around you react to this project?

At first, I wanted to do a piece about sexuality, love and the neocolonial aspects of interracial unions but I faced a backlash from people in the cultural institutions and people in the hip hop industry. Whenever I talked about my project I was completely shut down and called a racist.

After all that rejection and denigration, I went back to university and studied gender studies for two years, and around the same time I became an Afro-feminist activist. In the meantime, the project evolved. I used to work at festivals where there were many brass brands and I already wanted to create a marching band with hip hop dancers so I just mixed the two ideas: highlighting black women's issues and creating a marching band.

After equipping myself with the relevant intellectual tools, surrounding myself with other black women and realizing we were all going through the same things, I was capable of demonstrating the systemic nature of what I was talking about and the barriers fell. I was finally in the right place at the right time. I found the artists very easily, the first musicians I met brought other musicians, the first dancers brought other dancers, it all happened very organically.

Photo by SEKA Photography

What type of women were you looking for?

I was looking for women who were strong enough to embody and address those issues unapologetically. They had to be capable of dancing on the streets with an attitude that says "I am standing up straight, I am black, I am glowing, I am shining and you will look at me and ask yourself how you really see me because I am not all those stereotypes you believe I am." Naturally, it first attracted feminists, women who were already aware of those issues. The women who later joined us and weren't aware of those issues are now more conscious and politicized.

What are the musical and aesthetic inspirations behind the project?

I really wanted visuals inspired by the aesthetics of the 70s and 80s because the dances present in the parade—locking and waacking—emerged at that time. For the musical aspect, I looked for songs that talked about black women and their issues: sorority, colorism, equality and resilience.

Photo by SEKA Photography

How do you see the project evolving in the future?

I want to do a world tour, I want us to dance with Beyoncé and Solange, I want to take this message of empowerment everywhere there are black women who need to exist, shine, go outside and assert their presence in the public space. Because of harassment, sexism and prejudice, it's still pretty complicated for women to simply exist. I consider myself lucky because I can see that the band does what I wanted it to do: it really empowers black women and seeing that happening gives me a lot of strength to take it further.

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Seyi Shay. Image provided by the artist.

Seyi Shay's 'Electric Package' EP Is All About Love & Positive Vibes

We talk to Seyi Shay about her new EP, an intimate mix of different afrobeats blends topped off by Gqom.

Talented Nigerian singer and songwriter Seyi Shay recently dropped her brand new music project, the Electric Package EP Vol. 1.

It's her first project in three years, since the release of her debut album, Seyi or Shay, in 2015. The EP, an intimate mix of different blends of afrobeats, contains six tracks, topped off at the end by the Gqom brand of South African house music.

The project features artists from different corners of Africa, including rising singer King Promise from Ghana, Afropop songstress Vanessa Mdee from Tanzania, and rapper and producer Anatii from South Africa, giving it a pan-African outlook.

However, she didn't forget her fellow Nigerian acts, as seasoned highlife singer Flavour, young Afropop superstar Kiss Daniel, and fresh act Slimcase are also on the bill.

Several DJs were also involved in the project, hosting different songs in mixtape fashion; DJ Spinall, DJ Consequence, DJ Neptune, and DJ Cuppy from Nigeria, Vision DJ from Ghana, and DJ Tira from South Africa. The songs were produced by Killertunes, DJ Coublon, Krizz Beat, Lush Beat, Anatii, and Chopstix.

We caught up with the singer to discuss Electric Package. Read our conversation below.

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Photo courtesy of Nike.

OkayAfrica & Nike Present: Naija Worldwide

We're linking up with Nike to celebrate Nike's fire Nigeria kits and to send Team Nigeria off to the 2018 World Cup with style.

Partner content from Nike

We've teamed up with Nike to bring the Naija spirit to the world with "Naija Worldwide," an epic bash to celebrate Nike's triumphant Nigeria kits as we send Team Nigeria off to the 2018 World Cup with style!

Join us on Saturday, June 2, from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Well in Brooklyn as we mark the occasion with music by DJ Tunez, DJ Moma and DJ Moniki. The vibe also includes art by Laolu Senbanjo, Nigerian cuisine, and a surprise performance by one of Afrobeats' finest.

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