The sound of hands pounding on an African drum enticed people to dance as the rhythm of music flowed through their bodies. A celebration of diverse skin colors and culture was on full display at Grand Park in Downtown, Los Angeles.
As the sweet smell of incense perfumed the air on Sept. 29, the third annual Head Wraps in the Park event invited people from all backgrounds to attend.
“The whole concept came from the need of women wanting a safe space to wear head wraps,” said Fatima Dodson, the creator of Head Wraps in the Park.
Head wraps, which are also known as “goddess wraps,” are the garment of choice associated with the natural hair movement in the African-American community.
Originating in Sub-Saharan Africa, head wraps are an African beauty statement. Usually worn on the head symbolizing a crown, the head wrap either covers hair completely or ties as a headband around the forehead to reveal their hair.
There are many ways that someone can tie a head wrap, making it versatile enough to fit most styles.
Since its start in 2015, Head Wraps in the Park has created a following that continues to grow.
During the first year being at Liemert Park, the event started with only 500 attendees, and every year since has grown in attendance.
Lysha Fuqua, the owner of Beauty and Brains Tess, came from Northern California to attend Head Wraps in the Park.
“This event is important to me for two reasons,” Fuqua said. “The first reason is it puts all the stereotypes to the back. And it shows that we as black people can come together as a community.”
Ayodele Konchen, the owner of DuaFE Jewelry Waistbeads, said head wraps are ingrained in her upbringing, but expressed that some people don’t understand her culture.
“I learned how to wrap at an early age. I was that different kid in high school with head wraps and I didn’t care,” Konchen said. “It became a part of my culture and custom, but to everyone else it seemed so different and abnormal.”
Dodson said the event is appreciated by many community members.
“Last year people were so emotional and they were coming up to me just to say thank you for doing this event,” Dodson said. “Because of them it was so important to see us in such a positive atmosphere. I feel like right now a lot of people are in the need of that. With all the chaos in the world we need to be in an atmosphere we feel accepted and not judge. To me that is rewarding.”
With the intention of bringing head wrap culture to Los Angeles, Head Wraps in the Park is a place where people of color can connect.
“In Los Angeles this event is very important I am finding out, because I would go to other parts of the world and see all these cultural events. And I feel like we are lacking in that area,” Dodson said. “People really honored and accepted this event, because there’s a great need for it.”