Ancient History of Ghana Braids and How You Can Get Them

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Ghana Braids also known as Banana braids, straight-backs, or corn rows are considered a protective style in the natural hair community. The history goes back to none other than Africa and gained momentum around 500 B.C. According to essayist As Peters for Culturally Situated Design Tools, “Hieroglyphs and sculptures dating back thousands of years illustrate the attention Africans have paid to their hair. Braids were etched into the back of the head of the majestic sphinx.” This hairstyle survived the Middle Passage and made its way to Western civilization.

Recording artist Ciara wears Ghana Braids

Recording artist Ciara wears Ghana Braids

Recording artist Ciara wears Ghana Braids

The practice of cornrowing in the ancient times, like most early civilizations, were to distinguish marital, societal and age statuses. This varied widely among the many African tribes. During colonization of Africa to the Americas most slaves head were shaven– some would carry on this tradition and others would later conform to White American hairstyles. It is not until the civil rights movement throughout the later half of the 60’s and 70’s do African Americans begin to embrace their native cultural  hairstyles. The Movement is sparked again in the 90’s.  Today, women of different ethnicities and races, like  Kylie Jenner, rock the Ghanian straight back style!

Kylie Jenner wearing Ghana Braids

Kylie Jenner wearing Ghana Braids

What makes Ghana braiding so different from the traditional cornrowing is the start– aligning with the hairline to each braid causing it to seem way more soft and natural. In Ghana braiding the hair is pulled in smaller pieces with edge control like paste to create a slick and chic look. Ghana Braids are usually only 4-8 braids.

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Curlmedy shows us an easy way to DIY Ghana Braids

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