Serious Question: Are You Ever Too Old For Cornrows?

March 16, 2017  |  

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That’s a question my co-worker posed to me yesterday. The same co-worker who, last year, saw a photo of an intricately parted cornrow style and told me, at 31, I should get it and then proceeded to tell me yesterday she felt too old for such styles at 28.

It was an article on Blackgirllonghair.com that prompted the discussion. In a piece on Solange’s braid exhibit, a writer asked, after noting the beauty of the numerous styles on display, as well the fact that such designs “are typically seen as juvenile on black women:”

“Will cornrows ever be a common style for black women into adulthood?”

My gut reaction to the question when read and asked verbally was no for the very reason the author noted: such styles are typically seen as juvenile and not age appropriate, despite the fact that the very notion of certain things being age appropriate or not is antiquated in and of itself.

That’s a mindset Michaela Angela Davis certainly doesn’t subscribe to. When the image activist appeared on an episode of Did Y’all See? she talked to us about seeing Beyoncé’s Lemonade cover and immediately going out to get cornrows of her own, which she wore while giving commentary on CNN the next day in the ultimate display of carefree Black girlism. It’s a look she’s also proudly replicated many times since then.

I reckon there are also some women in their late 20s, 30s, and even older whose apprehension to rock the style has less to do with age and more to do with professional concerns. If we can barely get by rocking the hair that comes out of our heads in the workplace, it’s not inconceivable some women simply don’t want to deal with raised brows when they walk in the boardroom with straightbacks — unless they’ve just come back from vacation in the Caribbean when it’s appropriate for everyone to return to work with braids…You know what I’m talking about.

Edge concerns aside, this topic has me questioning whether I should hang up my cornrow hangups and maybe give the style a try this summer, or I’m really “too old” for that. What’s your stance on cornrows in adulthood?

 

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