Over the years, Black culture has been admired, adopted, and co-opted by the mainstream and in many cases without giving credit where it is due.
Our take on cultural appropriation is that anyone (White, Black or otherwise) who takes up the practices or implements of another culture should at least take the time to learn something about that culture and most importantly credit them for their historical contribution.
As a Black-owned company, we feel it is our responsibility to share the unique history of our product and its varied uses across the continent and in the diaspora. Here are just a few examples!
Waist beads can be seen worn by dancers depicted on the walls of ancient Kemet (now called Egypt).
These layers of beads called girdles were used to denote a woman's status in society.
The Yoruba women of Nigeria use waist beads as a sensual adornment to seduce their mates.
They are also believed to be a form of birth control when laced with specific charms.
In some parts of Ghana, a single white strand of waist beads is gifted to a baby girl during her naming ceremony for spiritual protection.
Strands can be gifted to young women during various rites of passage (puberty, marriage, motherhood).
They are also believed to keep the waist small and promote curves as she develops.
Namibian Oshiwambo women add gems and crystal to their waist beads to evoke healing properties.
Waist beads are also worn for protection as they encircle the body and close off circuits of energy.
African exploration, trade, migration and the transatlantic slave trade has spread waist beads and their various traditions throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.
We hope to encourage more women to research their history and even create new traditions to pass down to their daughters.
If you would like to see your culture represented here, please share with us below!