Why Do People Wear Durag?

You’ve probably seen your favorite hip-hop artist or athlete with an unusual headband on more than one occasion. This accessory is called Durag. But where did it come from and what is it for?

Durag is a kind of bandana that is part of the cultural iconography of the black community. It is used to prevent the curls from becoming fluffy after combing. As a result, the hair on the head takes the form of uniform waves. Durag also prevents Afrokos from frizzing and keeps the curls clean. However, this is far from the only and not the most important of its purpose – it acts as a symbol of street mentality and is a tribute to traditions.

Durag – A Brief History 

The history of Durag dates back to the 19th century. It was originally considered a headdress for slaves and poor African American workers, which also marked the lower class. However, in the 1930s, during the Great Depression and Harlem Renaissance, people learned about the benefits of durag and began to wear it to preserve their hair. Later, in the 1960s, during the dawn of the Black Power movement, he became an unspoken symbol of blacks. They made the headdress not just an attribute necessary for practical purposes, but also an adornment. Then representatives of almost all professions began to wear it.

50 Cent, Jay-Z & Eminem Wore a Durag

Over time, the durag lost its charm. But in 1979, the So Many Waves brand, founded by William Daudi, began to actively promote this accessory. And already in the 1990s and early 2000s, the bandage became widespread. Rapper Cam’Ron performed at the Rap City music show in a pink durag, wearing a Panama hat. Famous performers such as 50 Cent, Eminem, and JAY-Z have also spread this look, combining durag with suits, jeans and knitwear, and wearing them under their caps. The varied ways in which they tied the durag were a testament to its versatility and functionality.

Durag’s popularity 

Criminalization of Durag as a means of self-identification for blacks

In the years 1619-1865, during the dominance of the slavery system in the United States, most of the prisoners were black, forcibly taken out of Africa. Black people stolen from their lands no longer had the rights to their body, identity, family, and freedom and were criminalized. Remnants of slavery laid the foundation for the acts of discrimination that black people still face today. Thus, modern African American or black ghettos have become synonymous with crime, social problems, poverty, and political powerlessness. Silk Durag is among the most worn durags in the world and they are also very comfortable.

Simultaneously with the criminalization of blacks, attempts at their self-realization were suppressed in the form of suppression of civil protests, manifestations in music and fashion. With the emergence of hip-hop as the core of black youth expression, durag has become a fashion statement. Despite the obvious practical uses of the bandana, black men wearing a durag were and are still often perceived as criminals or lower class.