Most probably, you’ve seen your favorite black rapper with black or white cloth covering his head. That cloth is known as Durag. Mostly, black people use durags, and it is commonly seen with men. But why do black people wear durags? Is there any historical importance to wearing durags?
Actually, durags have both historical importance and general importance for people. Wearing durags help to keep hair in one place and to develop and maintain waves.
From the point of history, durags have great historical importance for black people. Durags were common in the 19th century, and they were identification of slaves or laborers, but things changed over time, and they became a fashion statement in Black Power Movement in the 1960s.
Let’s get to know the reasons why do black people wear durags in detail.
What is a Durag?
A Do-Rag, often spelled doo-rag, du-rag, or durag is a piece of fabric worn to cover the head. There has been a long history of the do-rag in American culture, and it isn’t a new trend among African-Americans.
Additionally referred to as silky, it is a tight-fitting material knotted around the crown of the head to protect the hair. Durags are used to promote the growth of long curly/kinky hair, waves, or locks in the hair and retain the hair’s natural oils. Additionally, they aid in preventing hair breakage and preventing hair, wave patterns, and braids from changing while sleeping.
Why do black people wear durags – Historical Reasons:
If you saw a black person wearing durag, this doesn’t mean he wears it to protect hair, but it also shows the historical importance of the fashion statement. In the 19th century, durags were used to identify enslaved people and laborers—they served as a visual cue that the wearer was impoverished.
But soon, things changed, and the purpose of using durag also changed. In the 1930s, during the great depression, the durag regained popularity as it was identified as effective for protecting hairstyles.
In the 1940s, women began taking over manufacturing occupations and needed a safe way to keep their hair out of the equipment, so they started to use durags.
Then in the 1960s, during Black Power Movement, it became a ‘fashion statement’ for black people. After this, the style started to fall, but it gained popularity again in the 1990s when rappers like Jay-Z, 50 cent, Nelly started to wear it.
Today, you can see durags worn by athletes, pop artists, rappers, Youtubers, and other personalities.
Why do black people wear durags – General Reasons:
The real use of durags is that it helps hair to keep those 360 waves, maintain braids at their place, retain moisture and prevent any damage to hair. Here are the reasons why do black people wear durags on their heads:
1) Help in Developing 360 Waves
Hair styled in a way that mimics the appearance of ocean waves is known as “waves.” For black males with shorter hair, 360 waves are the go-to hairdo. Consistent brushing is essential for achieving a 360-wave pattern, but failing to treat your hair properly might set back your efforts.
So, Durags retain hair in place when sleeping or wearing a cap, preventing it from becoming tangled.
2) Durags help maintain braids.
At the moment, the number of black males sporting braids is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, braids can have the same issues as 360-degree waves, like getting frizzy over time. Additionally, stray hairs begin to make their way out of the twists.
Durags are excellent for tying braids together, especially at night. Additionally, anything that aids in the maintenance of your desired haircut is a benefit.
3) Protect hair during exercising
Despite the controversy surrounding durags in sports, they’re still a great alternative for working out or participating in other physical activities. Long hair might get in the way while you’re trying to move about, but a durag can assist.
Additionally, durags are great for wicking away some sweat accumulated on your forehead.
4) Protection against sun damage
In the same way that perms may harm your hair, spending too much time in the sun can do the same. Durags can help folks who spend a lot of time outside or like sunbathing reduce their exposure to the sun.
However, you need to use a light color durag, which does not absorb sunlight as dark color durags do.
5) It helps improve hair texture.
As our hair is exposed to the elements, it loses moisture. This causes coarse hair to become brittle and dry.
Due to the abundance of options, these issues can be alleviated, and durags can be used to enhance the results. Wearing a durag whenever you apply an oil or cream will lengthen the amount of time they remain in your hair before evaporating.
Is a durag black culture?
Actually, yes! If we look into history books, durag was first used in the 19th century when enslaved people and laborers were forced to wear it as a sign of identification. Then, in the 20th century, it was worn by black women to help protect their hair while working in factories.
Durag completely became a part of the black culture when in the 1960s, Black Power Movement emerged and durag was a fashion statement of the movement. That’s where it gets associated completely with black culture,
Then in the 1990s, black rappers and artists used to wear it. So yes, from a historical viewpoint, durag is a black culture wearable.
Who can wear a durag?
From a general viewpoint, anyone can wear a durag. But if we see it from a cultural viewpoint, mostly black people wear durag. Even in black people, men mostly wear durag. It is either worn as a fashion statement or to keep braids and 360 waves in place. However, now even white guys wear and rock it.
If we talk about hair texture, mostly black people have curly hair, so the use of durag is beneficial for black people. That’s why you will see mostly black people rocking it.
What does a durag do to curly hair?
Durag actually helps curly hair to be a place and remain frizz-free, especially while sleeping. Curly hair grows rapidly, making it difficult to maintain it smooth and free of frizz. In order to prevent your curls from getting damaged, it is best to use a durag while you sleep.
Moreover, wearing a durag helps retain moisture in your hair, which is beneficial for preventing harsh factors such as pollution in the air.
Apart from this, a durag can help minimize the number of perms required to maintain its straightness by keeping hair neatly secured in place. This is ideal for those who are always on the move and lack the time and effort necessary to preserve their curls after sleeping.
How do durags make waves?
Durag is a must-have accessory for anybody looking to have waves. It’s critical to maintain your hair lying down when trying to create waves; otherwise, you’ll end up with flat waves. Another essential step in the process is brushing.
As you may know, Afro-American black guys have naturally curly hair that is difficult to straighten. It doesn’t matter how long you brush; they won’t stay down. A du-rag is just what you need in this situation.
Durag ensures that your hair falls flat after an intensive wave brushes every brushing session. Moreover, it helps to retain moisture in the hair, which result helps get the beautiful 360 waves. So it’s not just that du-rags make waves, but that they also maintain the waves in place.
This was all about durag and why do black people wear durags. Durag holds a significant part in black people’s culture from a historical viewpoint. And if talking about its general significance, it is beneficial in many ways for black people’s hair or curly hair.
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