Black Girl Accessories

The women used different head covers such as hats and head wraps that relate directly to Black culture to express their Black identity. They also wore a variety of accessories to highlight pride in both Black and African cultures and traditions.

Kangol Hat

Black music artists, such as LL Cool J, popularized the Kangol hat within Black culture during the 80s and 90s. Black millennials often draw inspiration for their clothing styles today from styles that were popular in the late 20th century.


White Kangol hat, c. 2010s. Owned by Destiny. Photo by Dyese Matthews and Kelly L. Reddy-Best, 2019.

Africa Embroidered Hat

Viveca wears this hat to show pride in her African heritage and stated, “That’s a hat showing where I’m from. Again, it’s showing the colors of Africa, colored into Africa. It’s the colors of the African flag colored into the continent. It’s just a proud, ‘say it loud’, you know what I’m saying, type of hat.” -Viveca


Black brimmed hat with continent of Africa embroidered in red, green, and black, c. 2010s. Owned by Viveca. Photo by Dyese Matthews and Kelly L. Reddy-Best, 2019.

Head Wrap

Brea wears headwraps in different styles unique to Black culture. She stated, “Headwraps are something I’ve felt are very Black, at least to me—especially coming from the continent of Africa. Even if I don’t want to do my hair and show my natural texture, I’m still being like ‘I am Black, and you will see it. You are not gonna be able to get away from it and it’s just who I am. And if you have a problem…tough.’” -Brea


Head wrap made of African-printed fabric, c. 2010s. Owned by Princess.

Hoop Earrings

Many of the women describe hoop earrings as a Black woman staple accessory. While explaining how hoop earrings are often seen as “ghetto”, Brea mentioned, “Hoops have always been something that Black women have worn. I know people are like ‘everybody wears hoops,’ but who wore the bamboo hoops first? I know Chicanas did it, but in the emulation of which woman? Black women have always had hoops. And of course, people thought it was “ghetto” but I love them. They complement an outfit and all Black women look good in hoops.” –Brea


Metal 2″ diameter hoop earrings with textured line pattern, c. 2010s. Owned by Brea. Photo by Dyese Matthews and Kelly L. Reddy-Best, 2019.

Black Woman Earrings

Earrings in shape of Black woman wearing a green, yellow, and red head wrap, c. 2010s. Owned by Kara. Photo by Dyese Matthews and Kelly L. Reddy-Best, 2019.

Waist Beads

Princess wears waist beads as a part of her Liberian culture. She recognized that waist beads have recently become a trend in North American culture, but stated, “I buy waist beads from the African store because that was the only place to get them before they started becoming a trend. It is part of African culture—there are different representations of the waist beads throughout different African cultures.” -Princess


Orange, white, and gold waist beads, c. 1990s. Owned by Princess. Photo by Dyese Matthews and Kelly L. Reddy-Best, 2019.



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Collegiate Fashion and Activism: Black Women’s Styles on the College Campus Copyright © 2019 by Dyese Matthews and Kelly L. Reddy-Best is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.