Can A White Girl Wear That?

A conversation about head wraps and appropriation

Ifie Natasha Brandon

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“Can a white girl wear that?”

She asked me after complimenting the style of my Ankara head wrap. She was one of my favorite white girls. I just liked her. Something about her was annoyingly sweet, hilarious, and so lovable. I wanted to be her friend. Like a ‘someone you go see a movie with’ friend.

She was bustling with smiles every time I saw her and honestly, she just made me feel good. Being around her was like being around an adorable puppy who wags its tail and runs around in circles because they’re so excited (I mean, I’m assuming this is what puppies do; I’ve never owned one before).

Messages of racial appropriation and black girls saying “do you even know where that comes from?” flashed through my head as I considered her question. Maybe head wraps are only for black girls or African girls or white women who identify as black — however that works. The story of the head wrap says that the significance of what you wear on your head lies within why you wear it.

Head wraps are worn by different cultures for different reasons and honestly, many women who wear them have no idea where they originated from or why. And even if they do, who has the right to say whether or not a particular race has the privilege to…

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Ifie Natasha Brandon

Multi medium storyteller | Author | Yogi | Somewhere between Lauryn Hill, Nola Darling, & Jesus Christ