Solange gave us the anthem — Don’t touch my hair. Like, at all. Since then hair has been a recurring theme of her art. For her SNL debut in November Solange enlisted 28-year-old Chicago braiding wunderkind Shani Crowe to create a Zaire-inspired crystal halo.

Solange teamed up with Crowe again in January for a live braiding show and the results are stunning.

While young black girls are often given intricate braid styles, they are typically seen as juvenile on black women. In some instances fear of professional discrimination or social ridicule keeps black women from being more experimental with cornrows. But there is no doubt that these styles are beautiful and exquisite. As I look at them I wonder, will cornrows ever be a common style for black women into adulthood?

In an April 2016 interview with Fusion Crowe discussed the cultural importance of braids, and the danger of them being lost to black people due to appropriation;

“Braiding is a sacred art in a lot of ways because it’s so rich in tradition—a lot of times we don’t really understand how much it means. I’ve always done hair and there were times when [braids] weren’t really as popular and I didn’t do them as much, but [now] all these white girls are coming out wearing cornrows. Someone asked me, “Do you do boxer braids?” and I was like, “You mean box braids? What the hell are boxer braids?” And she was like, “Those braids that Kim Kardashian wears.” Kim Kardashian just has straight-back braids and they aren’t even done that well, they looked pretty popped, and popped in Chicago is not a good thing. Because [braids] are coming out in pop culture and being exploited as a trend in the fashion scene, I think it’s important for me to honor them, before there’s a time when people don’t even remember them as a traditional black art. Plenty of cultures do their own braid styling, but African braiding has its own very long chapter in the history of braiding. I felt charged to make them tangible in a way where I could create an icon that honors my experience with braiding, my love for my clients and a celebration of black feminine beauty coiffeur in my own words, in my own images outside of magazines.”

Ladies, what do you think? Will cornrow styles ever become popular among adult black women?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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18 Comments on "[Pics] Solange’s Braids Exhibit Has Me Wishing More Adult Black Women Wore Cornrows"

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Briana Henderson

In my social circle cornrows are already popular with adult Black woman. Especialy when going on vacation or as a protective style.

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[…] was an article on Blackgirllonghair.com that prompted the discussion. In a piece on Solange’s braid exhibit, a writer asked, […]

Ggirl

They are worn by many adult black women around the world(African women have braid patterns for days), I feel like it isn’t as popular here because a lot of people don’t find them as aesthetically pleasing. Unless a wig or weave will be attached to the braids, *some don’t appreciate them.

Cheryl Nelson
I am 61 years old, and I feel that it is a personal decision on my part to wear my hair braided. I am going natural and also decided to stop coloring my hair. People will spend money on weave, perms and color….so why not invest in braids. The main reason why I am braiding my hair, is because of hot flashes! I have gone to my salon, and had my hair pressed, curled and before I can reach home I have sweated it out. There are beautiful styles out there for women to explore. I am free now! I… Read more »
kita

my hair will definitely be in styles like this once I am out of the military. I get away with a lot with my hair now but those types of braids are considered a “fad” and I can’t do that right now. soon tho lol

Kellie

I don’t know how to braid well, so unless stylists stop charging $85 for two dookie braids I won’t be wearing these styles lol. But I will always know that braids are black, just like white people will always wonder why their braids keep slipping out.

BlaqRaiin

LOL braids have ALWAYS been popular in our culture?..& there are many styles that don’t look childish& can be professional ?

Ava

I’m in my mid-thirties and wear undo cornrow styles in the summer time as a professional. Working in the justice system I believe its important to represent the spectrum of black womanhood while also staying true to my own style in a fresh and simple to care for hair style. I wish for more women and men to feel comfortable in their blackness in a professional setting.

Naquida

I think it’s great to bring cornrows into play again but how about something more professional and not so grammy’s, Coachella, BET awards. There is no way I could walk into my 4 start resort place of business and expect to be taken serious.

CSD

That’s the problem…

I hate that it feels that our culture is a novelty or some type of game not to be taken serious. I know that this is the way the world unfortunately works, but I refuse to shrink myself.

QueenxIndigox

That’s the problem sis, that feeling right there is the problem. We should be able to walk into a place of business and still be taken seriously and We shouldn’t have to feel ashame because we wear our hair in a style that is geared to towards who we are as people.

Chantell

How terribly sad.

Christina Mitchell

BEAUTIFUL!! I’m gonna have to have my hair cornrowed soon because the work displayed in these photos are so empowering. We need to embrace our hair regardless of what other races might think. I’ve been natural for 2 years and I honestly could care less how someone may feel about my natural hair.

SO

I wear my hair in corn rows and flat twists. I don’t care whether they are fashionable or not. Initially, friends told me I looked like a little kid, now they tell me how good they look on me. I’ve even had a couple of people copy my hairstyles. The only problem is that they don’t last too long.

Ama

She looks beautiful!

Jewel

Will cornrow styles ever become popular among adult black women? I grew up during the “Black is Beautiful” period in the 70’s. All I wore was cornrows, afros, and ponytails. Curls on Sunday. I’ve worn braids as an adult. The beauty of black hair is that the majority of us can and have the right to wear it in many different ways/forms. Cornrows HAVE been popular. However, Let us Live and Let Live.

Kay Sturgis

Man she’s so real it doesn’t even make sense. I appreciate it because nowadays too many ppl in the industry try to go with the flow or sell themselves along with our culture. She’s been going against mainstream for a long time & I love that about her. Whether it’s hair or culture, I hope she continues to use her voice & stardom to speak up for our race. It’s truly amazing!

Gracie

Stunning.

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