Braiding is an important part of Black beauty culture. And for many Black women, the experience of getting your hair braided — whether in cornrows or for protective styles — begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. In the latest episode of Go Off Sis, four ladies reflect on their braiding memories and answer the question: Can you braid?
"I have such a love-hate relationship with those memories of getting my hair braided," Sojourner Elleby says. "My butt would get tired, I would be sore, and I didn't want to sit there for hours." Jessica Cruel paints a similar picture of her childhood braiding sessions. "Every summer my mom would say, 'It’s time for braids,' and I’d sit between her legs. She'd put on The Lion King and braid my hair for hours." While not always the most glamorous experience, braiding served as a bonding time for many people and their parents (or other family members).
But not all the ladies in the video know how to braid themselves. "You can revoke my Black-girl card. I can't cornrow. I just can't," says Elleby, but she's planning to learn before becoming a mother. "Braiding and Black motherhood go hand in hand, which is exactly why before I have any babies of my own," Elleby says. "I need to have my child in between my legs to braid their hair. I have to." However, Ryen Williams has another point of view: "I don't think you have to know how to braid in order to be a Black mother," she says. "Girl, if you can't braid, you can still be fly."
Press play to hear more of what these women had to say, and tell us about your braiding experiences in the comments section below.