My Love of the Wrap passed on...

An interesting discussion took place recently about cultural appropriation. It was a great dialogue what is considered cultural appropriation vs. Cultural appreciation. This dialogue led me to a very emotional place. I think since having my daughter I've begun to think more and more of the history of my people.

As African American woman where does our Beauty and strength lay. If Africans were not taken from Africa where would our trajectory be by now. History has often been a brutal Taskmaster who robbed the African American of our identity and history. When you know where you come from and who you came from it gives you a sense of self. It gives you a sense of power it gives you a sense of owning your own Beauty. At least in my eyes.

Because of this discussion it led me to thinking of a tradition that was passed down too many African American women of unashamedly loving our natural hair. Of wrapping our Beauty which is often referred to as crowns or our crowning Glory. Not only is this fashion this is who I am. As an African American woman who's story and Journey did not just begin with slavery that is not where I choose to start from. But as we cannot Trace our history back to Africa we have to establish our own traditions and our own norms. Based upon that truth which is my truth I choose to pass my truth and my tradition on to my daughter.

This is Who We Are this is how I choose to raise her this is our Beauty this is our fashion this is our tradition. This Is Us!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Oh Ledonna! This is gorgeous! I'm tearing up at the pics of baby wrap.

    That was a really interesting discussion about cultural appropriation. I'm still mulling it over and pondering my relationship with wax prints and kimonos. 

    I've been thinking a lot and talking with friends about the lack of localised fashion cultures here in Europe. It seems like we've lost something important because we buy so much of it off the peg. Not sure what I'm trying to say here but I'm always inspired to see what you're doing with thrifted and locally made stuff.

  • Ledonna N. replied 3 years ago

    Approprio' it is such a delicate balance negotiating between appreciation and appropriation. I have a kimono have come to love it. I really struggled with whether I should wear it or not and decided not to. I started thinking about how people that are native to America have their garments worn as fashion. I started thinking about African-Americans now we were derided for certain things. That has now become fashion. It's a fine line and delicate balance to walk I enjoy upcycling I enjoy thrifting I enjoy handmade art pieces to wear. Sometimes I let my personal feelings get in the way of appreciation for others. Showing my daughter or history My Love For head wraps I feel as though it will bring us much closer as we journey through this life.

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    Ledonna, thank you so much for your contributions on that thread. I love reading your thoughtful and impassioned perspective. 

    I squee'd out loud when I got to photo 22. Zion'Joy is adorable, and your brilliant smile when you are holding her in those photos speaks volumes. I have no doubt that your little girl will grow up to be fierce. :-) 

  • Jane replied 3 years ago

    Thank you for your insightful post. I have really welcomed reading your thoughts. Thank you for sharing them in such an open way. The photos add additional depth, warmth and love to your post. Zion'Joy is beautiful and has a wonderful role model in you. A very heart felt thank you. 

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Heh, I just thought of something. I almost asked you the other day on the Fleek post if you thought motherhood had changed your style, and I just realised you answered that question right here. It's a lovely development. 

    And I'd love to see the kimono. I think it can work if worn in the right way, because the style has been worked and reworked in so many different ways over the years. But you do have to find exactly the right one for you.

    Why not post a pic one of these days?

  • Ledonna N. replied 3 years ago

    Here is a picture of the kimono when I first bought it I thirsted it from a tiny vintage shop on the westside of Chicago from a artist collector thrifter. It was so beautiful it still is I was actually going to modify it and have my ex sew denim onto the lapel and as a border and wear it that way. Overtime as I looked at it and I thought it was really beautiful and that I just I just couldn't wear it.

    On the topic of motherhood yeah I have been changed. You can't go through something for almost 10 months and a few other things that I'm not going to share for growing a human no matter what your face believe or not believe it is a great miracle to be able to grow a human work that human and then love that human into life. I was a soldier for 10 years I learned how to be hard I cultivated that and this has changed me fundamentally. Of all the things that I've done in like this as her name reflects is my highest Joy my Zion Joy.

    I feel like it's an honor and a privilege being a mother and it is something that I don't take lightly I feel like she chose me to be her mom and so I'm tasked with that awesome responsibility and in power with that trust I'm grateful and at the same time humble and at the same time overjoyed.

  • Sara L. replied 3 years ago

    OMG, the headwrap on Zion'Joy is the cutest thing ever! 

  • replied 3 years ago

    I love the headscarves, especially the colourful ones. I like the wrap style that is tall on your head. It really does open up your face. You are gorgeous and vivacious and I must copy your colour combos. I think you are truly brilliant with colour.

    I can't even believe how cute Z'Joy is. She is so precious.

    PS: You also do big earrings really well.

  • replied 3 years ago

    I think your sentiments and head wraps are beautiful. You both rock the wraps and I respect you don't feel comfortable wearing the kimono now but it looked great.

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    ooh that's a good one! thanks for indulging my curiosity! Love how you've styled it with jeans and tee, and the colour would work with your signature camo.

    You can totally wear that, but it's a lot of sleeve and you don't want to get it covered in baby barf. So, not very practical but maybe you'll come back to it sometime. Never say never!

  • Ledonna N. replied 3 years ago

    Thanks Sara L.  They will become a staple get ready. lol

    smittie- I used to be afraid of color only wearing blacks and greys and tans go figure.  I like the taller wraps also but they put somewhat of a strain on the neck after a while. 

    Jlpp- thank you I thought it looked good on this was when I purchased it.  I had 2 factors to consider. 1 was this actually my life and whom would I offend if I wore this.  So I made the judgement call to frame it and display it.

    appropiro-That fit I just so happened to wear on the day I bought it.  I forgot what jacket I was wearing.  Oh believe me I have learned the hard way never to say never. I say instead.  I am open to the journey.

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    That kimono is so cool! I agree with approprio.

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    Oh now yes to the head wrap! The head wrap is really IT. So much said there.

    '...a tignon tied in seven points, like a halo of flame.' (That's Barbara Hambly, and is a line that has always stayed with me as something that marked out what striking beauty looks like.)

    I love seeing Zion'Joy in her head wrap. Own it, dudette! Lol.

    Oh ps: You rock the kimono.

  • Echo replied 3 years ago

    Both you and your DD are beautiful in your head wraps. I love them and how they compliment your beauty and your outfits. You have a rich fashion legacy to pass to your little girl. I, too, think the kimono is fabulous, but we each need to do what we feel is right. If wearing it is not within your comfort level, I bet it makes an amazing display piece, as well.

    The cultural appropriation thread has given us all a lot to consider, and I very much value your contributions and your insight. Your comments are always well-considered and enlightening. 

  • Sal replied 3 years ago

    Zion'Joy and yourself are both beautiful.  And I agree, passing on a tradition to a child is worthy, special and important so we remember our heritage and culture.

    I have not been able to pass any fashion/clothing traditions to my sons but I have tried to hand on food and ceremonial ones.

  • Ledonna N. replied 3 years ago

    Sal i think that is wonderful. I'm so used to not cooling and only me for 43 years. Im learning how to prepare 1 meal a week.

    Echo thank you so muchthat while thread was food for thought. The kimono is so beautiful moimted to my wall.

    Thank you all. I will probably be letting Zi'Joy wear the headwraps dor special ocassions or events. It will be our mom and me matchy matchy.

  • cindysmith replied 3 years ago

    I just love this song much!

  • kerlyn replied 3 years ago

    Beautiful!  Both of you!

  • Kate replied 3 years ago

    The mama and daughter head wraps are so beautiful--the pair of you look like two peas in a pod as my own Mama would say. And what a lovely and meaningful tradition to pass down to Nugget.

  • Lisa replied 3 years ago

    I sometimes wish more people thought like you.  Too many traditions have gotten lost over time.  Speaking multiple languages, specific clothes or ceremonies for occasions, it's nice to see someone mindful of this and passing it on.  Your baby girl is very blessed to have you (plus absolutely adorable.  Those cheeks!)

  • Isabel replied 3 years ago

    WOW. Beauty everywhere that you turn. And lots of hope for the future with that beautiful child. 

  • FashIntern replied 3 years ago

    She looks adorable in that wrap, and I think she knows it!

    I appreciate your comments in the "appropriation" discussion, and your move here to keep that topic on the table. Interesting to hear that you are working through the other side now. I think the question of the kimono for you is a good place to start exploring "over there", because it allows you to assume two stable entities that are completely separate cultures, much less "messy" and entangled than is often the case.

  • Ledonna N. replied 3 years ago

    I love that many cultures are passing down their heritage and I agree many do not share their history.  It is almost a lost art form to know your history or to speak a native tongue.

    Zi'Loves looking at herself.  I use the phone or the I pad to let her see herself instead of the mirror less dangerous that way and I hate those baby mirrors they look all fun house effect.

  • KnittingGene replied 3 years ago

    I love your post so much! You and your daughter are gorgeous and you reflect so much joy and pride. Thank you for this.

  • Joyce B replied 3 years ago

    I love the mother and daughter head wraps! Zion is such a cutie and she is growing up so fast!

  • Column replied 3 years ago

    Baby head wrap is gorgeous and darling! Your discussion made me think of Beyonce's Formation video, where she sings that she'll style daughter Blue Ivy's hair any way she wants to. :)

You need to be logged in to comment