The turban is not a style – it is a legacy, a heritage passed down from 17th century enslaved black women to today’s progressive woman wearing her culture with pride. A tignon (spelled and pronounced tiyon) is a headcovering. A piece of material tied about the lady’s head to form the turban (see video below) that looks like the West African Gele. It was worn by Creole women of African descent in Louisiana during the Spanish colonial period, and continuing to the present day. This beautiful headdress was the result of laws passed in 1786 under the administration of Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró. The tignon laws, enforced “appropriate” public dress for black women in colonial society. In Louisiana, and around the world, women of African descent vied with white women in beauty, dress and manners. One of the most standout physical attributes that separated us from the white counterparts was our hair. We would adorn our hair with colorful jewelry, beads and other accents, demonstrating an enticing appearance which attracted the white male suitors. Many of us had become openly kept mistresses of white, French, and Spanish Creole men. This perceived threat to white women’s relationships with French and Spanish Creole men incurred the jealousy and anger of their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and fiancées. With the looming threat to the social status of white women growing and the attention garnered as a result of the jewelry adorned hairstyles from women of African descent, action was required. To correct this, Governor Miró decreed that women of African descent, slave or free, should cover their hair and heads with a knotted headdress and refrain from “excessive attention to dress” to maintain class distinctions. Historian Virginia M. Gould notes that Miró hoped the law would control women “who had become too light skinned or who dressed too elegantly, or who, in reality, competed too freely with white women for status and thus threatened the social order.” Miró’s intent of having the tignon mark inferiority had the opposite effect, according to historian Carolyn Long[3]who noted: “Instead of being considered a badge of dishonor, the tignon…became a fashion statement. The bright reds, blues, and yellows of the scarves, and the imaginative wrapping techniques employed by their wearers, are said to have enhanced the beauty of the women of color.” The women who were targets of this decree were inventive and imaginative. They decorated tignons with their jewels and ribbons, and used the finest available materials to wrap their hair. In other words, “[t]hey effectively re-interpreted the law without technically breaking the law”[4]—and they continued to be pursued by men. BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

LaVidaEnBlack History Month 

It’s important to know who we are, from whom and where we were formed… by telling the stories ourselves, we see an example of how to live, how to inspire and how to honor our ancestors, Aguanile, Mai, Mai… Posting from the DMV, February 1, 2016 MimiTVA commits to post about different Afro-Descendants throughout Black HistoryContinue reading “LaVidaEnBlack History Month “

Domingo Candombe #BlackHistoryIsGlobal

Today’s La Vida En Black History Month message is from Uraguay… Candombe is an original Uruguayan music and art form developed by the Africans living there as slaves. Candombe is so imbedded in the Uruguayan culture Candombe is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage of humanity. Candombe also became ingrained in Argentina andContinue reading “Domingo Candombe #BlackHistoryIsGlobal”

The Priestess Who Launched the War of Independence! #BlackHistoryIsGlobal

This La Vida En Black History Month message hails for la isla de la primera vista, Hispaniola’s french side, Haiti! And I went in search of a Lady I present to you, Cécile Fatiman.   Cécile Fatiman was a great Vodou Priestess when in 1792 she lead the ceremony in Bois Caïman which launched theContinue reading “The Priestess Who Launched the War of Independence! #BlackHistoryIsGlobal”

Chica da Silva A La Vida En Black History Month Momen

The history of Chica da Silva is now a significant part of Brazilian folklore and age old controversy. It is said Chica was born to an African slave mother and Portuguese nobleman father in the diamond mining region of Tejuco, Brazil. As a young girl she was sold in the 1750’s to the household ofContinue reading “Chica da Silva A La Vida En Black History Month Momen”

La Vida En Black; El Negro Primero #BlackHistoryIsGlobal

Afro-Venezuelans were a vital part of the struggle for independence.  One of Simon Bolívar’s most famous lieutenants, Pedro Camejo, is legendary in Venezuela’s history as “El Negro Primero,” who was always the first to ride into battle. In the final battle of Carabobo, Camejo was mortally wounded but survived long enough to utter one infamous phrase: “General, vengo decirle,Continue reading “La Vida En Black; El Negro Primero #BlackHistoryIsGlobal”