This is for my Kulcha Kids. If you don’t know what that is, it’s OK; I’ll explain. See, some of us in the U.S. were actually born
Those of us born in are bonded through the early days of the introduction of tofu, brown rice everything, carob instead of chocolate & sesame sticks masquerading as candy. Head nod to the Big Sis right there. We are forever joined at the waist band by lappa ties & dashikis—not the Korean version you can get on the corner, but the real 1’s that everybody’s pops—known as Baba—wore, as did their sons with the accompanying head gear, the kufi. It was the predecessor to the Coogi sweater & matching hat phenomenon that we’re all thankful has disappeared everywhere but parts of NYC where they haven’t figured out Phat Farm is some bamma isht. We are hand clasped in African dance, with Funga being everyone’s 1st like Fisher Price, & growing up knowing cowrie shells before they started hanging from corn rows in the hood or made of plastic. We fell asleep head to head at Kwanzaa gatherings well before there were stamps or Kente print toothbrushes. We suffered through then learned to love Eyes On the Prize together & had no idea the words to "The Wheels On the Bus" but could recite without stumbling the speeches of Malcolm X. & for those of us who went to public school at any point, we were the only 1’s, typically, at your school with natural hair, lunches that didn’t look right to y’all & parents who were ever-present.
It was once I got to the public school realm that I noticed the way we dressed was often different. Now, my parents—well my mother—wasn’t fully committed to rockin’ African garb because she worked for Da Man & was clear that to keep food on the table she had to keep a white blouse & an A-line skirt on deck. My father had a proclivity toward jeans & K-Swiss but he could always be found wearing a dashiki or an African [message/symbol] tee. & I got real comfy in my standard American gear. I understood time & place appropriateness & would don the necessary attire when attending a wedding, a program, a ritual, etc. but on G.P. you would not catch me wearing African clothes. Why? Cuz the stuff for me looked like the stuff for my mother. All kinds of peplums (loogidup) & puffy sleeves. I wasn’t feelin’ it & got away from it as soon as I was able.
But now? Oh, now it’s all about contemporary. African fabrics have hit the runways & become quite popular. It’s the kind of wears that are undeniably fly & all the more so because the print is dope & it connects me to a part of me I love. I’ve always loved the prints, just not always what was done with them. This is exciting to me!! Now, in any aspect of my life, I can rock a hint of who I am boldly & proudly. Like this…
Or I can accentuate like this:
Or even like this:
Shout out to Sa-Roc the MC
So, check out a runway near you. If not, Google® African designers & watch what happens. Then you too can fall in love with something that’s always been with me & gitchu some too.
Watch me move.