The Evolution of the Du-rag

Nov 15, 2013

“Where were you when you first fell in love with du-rags?” she asked, as we sat in the park people-watching and rehashing last night’s episode of Scandal.

My first du-rag was a family heirloom, handed down from my older brother, who also doubled as my barber.

There it sat on the bathroom counter--a small, mysterious, black mound of silk.  I knew nothing of this foreign apparatus, its origin or its purpose.

But the moment when my brother brushed my hair, put the du-rag on my head, and I stood in front of the mirror watching the cape flow gracefully down to my shoulders, I knew that it was the security blanket to my Linus Van Pelt, the wand to my Harry Potter, th- the tuxedo to my Janelle Monae.  

I slept in it. Hooped in it. Wore it under hats. Wore it when I read. Wore it when I did yard work. Wore it after a fresh haircut. Wore it when I was in desperate need of a cut. Wore it in public like a purple heart, an Olympic medal.

That. Du-rag. Made. Me. Feel. Invincible.  

My collection expanded—white cotton, black satin, camouflage, one’s without the seam down the center, one’s with long strings, one’s with short strings, one’s with two-tones before color-blocking was a *thing*. I had a du-rag for every day of the week, and 2 for Sunday.

I began to notice that the strings of my du-rag left a line across my forehead, so even when I didn’t have it on, it still felt like it was with me, like a guardian angel, y’all. A constant reminder of the inseparable, indescribable bond shared between a Black man and his du-rag.

After wearing the same du-rag for many, many years, and accidentally leaving it home during a recent vacation, I was forced to purchase a new one. Much to my surprise, the cape was sleeker, more refined, more contoured than my first. The stitching was fortified, the silk was silkier. The work of a quality craftsman. It was this new du-rag technology and a suggestion from @Natelege that inspired me to write this post. One day, I’ll pass my du-rag down to my son, and he’ll pass it down to his son, and so forth and so on. Just like the stories of Harriet Tubman and Jackie Robinson, I just felt like the importance of du-rags should be documented in the annals of history.

Good day.

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