Hype Vent: Stop Passing Off ‘Boxer Braids’ As Something New

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

Photo Credit: hennyxharmon

For the past few years, Black girl hair magic has seemed to be in a constant state of appropriation. This hardly comes as a surprise, but it is hard not to take it personally when over and over, everything about us is loved – except us. Our hair, our butts (well, not mine), our lips – everything that we have been collectively teased and taunted for is now “on trend.”

Most recently, we’ve witnessed laughable headlines about this new “boxer braids” hairdo now made “ubiquitous” by UFC boxer Ronda Rousey and rocked by the likes of Blake Lively, Kim Kardashian and, gasp, first daughter Sasha Obama.  Of course, I was baited to click and saw not one thing new. These trending boxer braids were cornrows. CORNROWS. A style so foreign, the media does not know what to call them – referring to African-originated cornrows as “center-parted reverse French-braids.” Seriously?!

[SEE ALSO: WATCH: ‘Hunger Games’ Amandla Stenberg Talks Cornrows & Cultural Appropriation]


I am all for appreciating and borrowing traditions from other cultures. But, far too often, this borrowing turns into theft, without an even attempted regard or attribution to the source. It is downright disrespectful.

It is also baffling how something that I grew up being told was not good or pretty is now the latest rage. Personally, I was raised in a state where I was simultaneously teased and marveled at for my weekly cornrows. I experienced the hair touchings. The ‘how does your hair do that?’  I have even had to explain how my hair did not grow overnight when I got waist length extensions.

[SEE ALSO: 31 Celebs Whose Cornrows Have Always Been Fab]

And, now, “boxer braids” are a thing?!? I have been trying to let it go, but that contributes to the problem. Trends are fleeting. I am not.

I refuse to pass it off as just another hashtag. I refuse to accept that what I look like can go in and out of vogue, without a thought for who and what I am.

I refuse to be invisible.

And, as Wendy Williams so nicely summed it up: “My people have been wearing these since forever”.

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About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

isis is a music, hair and communications junkie. founder of Sadiaa and editor for HypeHair.com.