Does an African origin mean that African waist beads are only for women of the African diaspora? Not necessarily. Here, let's start at the beginning of how African waist beads integrated into Western fashion.
Black and Brown women of the diaspora in the West started using waist beads to reconnect with their West African ancestry lost during the transatlantic slave trade. Waist beads symbolized pride for her heritage—a piece of her identity reclaimed. African waist beads have many functions, such as weight tracking, body positivity, fertility, spirituality, and posture.
“A waist bead is an ancient African technology; all at once adornment, a waist and weight measurement tool, an ancient scale and a mindfulness tool,” said Jasai Madden, chief designer at Alaiyo Waistbeads in a Good Morning America interview.
Traditionally and modernly, African waist beads represent womanhood. Waist beads were present whether a girl was getting her first period or a woman was carrying her first child. African women wore waist beads during intimacy as well and considered them lingerie in some countries. Waist beads still take on many traditional uses of waist beads in West Africa currently.
JC beads embody the West African traditions and extend the womanhood celebration to the feminine collective. The feminine collective includes any feminine identifying or presenting person.
“I think every human with a waist should have the experience of wearing a waist bead, Caitlyn Kumi, founder of Miss EmpowHer, told Good Morning America. “ I also think wearers of non-African descent have a unique and beautiful opportunity to experience the powerful magic of this traditional tool and then share both its origins and impact with people who might not otherwise be privy,” she went on to explain.
African waist beads are for those who are committed to learning and respecting the culture they represent. They are for the people who researched to gain cultural context of the African waist beads. Buy from black-owned businesses like JC for ethical consumerism. Most importantly, our African waist beads are for the feminine collective who honor the heritage.
JC celebrates anyone that wishes to awaken their feminine confidence with waist beads. With each African waist bead, we instill cultural knowledge to its customers. Our customers come from all spectrums of the feminine collective, and they all leave cultured and confident.