Here We Go Again…Braids Are a UFC Trend?

miesha tate

Alev Aktar sure did try it. In the latest digital trolling of black women and theft of our style, the NY Post has declared that braids are the latest trend inspired by, surprisingly, the women’s division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). I’m not linking to the article because they aren’t worth the click. And to make matters worse, they are attributing Sasha Obama’s beautiful braided style at the White House state dinner to this trend, displaying a slideshow where Sasha is the only black woman wearing her hair in braids.

For years, women in the UFC and martial arts have been wearing their hair in tight braids during matches to prevent their hair from being pulled and to keep it out of their faces, but just recently, women’s fighting has been gaining in popularity to the general public. And may I note, these women aren’t wearing braids to be cute or trendy, they’re serving a function as they do their job.

Now, I understand why these fighters wear their hair in braids during matches and take absolutely no issue with it, but let’s get something straight – they did not start this trend, and frankly, I’m getting tired of the media giving credit to white women for making styles that black women have been wearing for centuries “trendy.”

sasha obama

African hair braiding can be traced back to 3500BC, and many of us have been wearing braids our entire lives – microbraids, box braids, cornrows, Ghana braids, and more. However, when black women wear braids, it is often seen as inappropriate in the workplace or deemed as “ghetto.” The second a popular white woman dons braids, it becomes “edgy” and “trendy.”

At this point, I have a question – is the media simply trolling black women for clicks? As of late, when these articles come out, black women have no issue speaking out against this type of appropriation and correcting the journalist on the origin of braids, and still, here we are. I find it highly unlikely that they are simply ignorant of the cultural significance of the style to black women, and are either choosing to ignore the history because they don’t care, or because they know that it will give them attention, even if it’s negative. After all, advertising analytics don’t really care if the click is a result of admiration or anger.

So let’s cut the bullshit – feel free to wear braids at your leisure, just know that they didn’t come from Paris Fashion Week, that K family, UFC, or white pop stars. Give credit where credit is due. That’s all I ask.

What do you all think? Is the media trolling, or are they truly that ignorant?

14 comments

  1. The white media has been giving credit to white women regarding our style since the beginning. Remember Bo Derek and her braids? When she first came out with them in 1979, braids/cornrolls was suddenly beautiful. Sadly, nothing has changed.

  2. Definitely a case of agreeing to disagree. Genetics don’t lie, imo. People have different gene markers and different levels of immunity to different disorders. We all came from Africa, but we don’t all have the same exact marker types for different things.

  3. Lets not get in the weeds about the origin of the species…or braids…LOL. It is obvious to anyone that gives a fuck that braids didn’t start with the UFC. Therein is the problem. People see what they want to see. If you feel that civilization revolves around you, this is what happens. You create a story the revolves around you and throw out the rest. I don’t think they are fishing for clicks. That is giving them too much credit. They are just seeing the world through elitist tinted classes…which is even worse.

    1. Exactly. Braiding history aside, the issue is one of a dominant culture claiming something when they don’t have the right to claim it.

  4. They’re definitely trolling for clicks. To them, there is no such thing as bad publicity as long as they get attention. After both Cosmo and Vogue Teen got virtual tongue lashings from social media, it is no longer a coincidence, it has become some kind of ‘how to’ from some newfangled How to Get Attention rulebook. Truly pathetic.

  5. Thanks for this article Elle! This is the usual way of discrediting us. If it’s not the hair style, it’s the body i.e. Jennifer Lopez’s butt, or the lip injections, skin tanning, etc.

  6. I think they’re trolling. But to be fair, we aren’t the only culture with a history of hairbraiding. Braids are pretty ubiquitous as far as hairstyles go throughout the world. Braided styles are traditional among the Norse and have been for a couple millenia at least, different Native American tribes have traditional hairstyles involving braids, many Asian cultures and Middle Eastern cultures involve braiding as part of their trraditional haircare. It’s not the braids that is the problem, but the appropriation of a method of braiding found only in African cultures and claiming it as this trendy white thing that came from somewhere other than black people.

    1. Oh I agree, I’m not talking about all braided styles but it seems that these stories pop up when it’s a style that is associated with Black and African culture, such as cornrows or box braids. Braids have been around forever in England, Scotland, etc. However, I could be wrong, but African is the only culture I have seen braids date back to BC.

      1. There was a discovery in Denmark during 1938 of a body known as Elling woman who died somewhere between 350BC-150BC, and she was found wearing a braided hairstyle. There’s also acheological proof Native Americans have been wearing various styles including braids for at least as long as they’ve been in the Americas.

        But yeah, there is a disgusting amount of appropriation of specifically Black/African methods and styles of braiding by the media in particular. Sometimes I feel like telling people to cut that shit out because they already have a historic braiding method/methods of their damn own. The abandoning their own methods and demonizing us for ours thing is ridiculous.

      1. I have to disagree with your link. Genetics show that what few Olmec remains have been found have a genetic profile more similar to Asians than Africans. We aren’t the only group with the features found in Olmec artwork. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t Black groups within the Native population. And I’ll be honest, I’ve never gone for people trying to convince me that everyone is pulling the wool over my eyes and everything good in the world stems from Africa. We are and have always been as flawed as other people.

      2. We can agree to disagree. Reasearch the Black Chinese Dynasties. Of course everything stems from Africa because we are the original people. They don’t have to troll us because they already know about us. We need to troll us and learn our true history. Have a blessed day and also look up the alu gene. 🙂

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