After a week of cutting and sewing silk rounds together, I finally managed to complete the hardest part of the project. I was able to get to the fun part which was giving them away. I was seriously so excited to give these bonnets to the black people in my community.
After finding a flea market and renting a spot for the day, I set up a table full of gift bags with bonnets and a sign showcasing my mission statement. On my sign I made sure to write the word “free” in big letters to bring my point across. Something truly interesting was the amount of people who thought there was a catch to my cause. By asking “would you like a free bonnet?”, most people were shocked when I handed them a gift bag. On this day, I spent a lot of time conversing with many people not only about my cause but also my experiences with my own hair journey. I explained how silk provides many benefits to the scalp such as preventing friction and breakage due to the smooth material and its breathability. I also wore my own bonnet at times (before the weather got too hot) from home to help advertise.
While I enjoyed giving them away to anyone who asked for one, I was so overjoyed to give bonnets to the children that came by. Whether they came to ask for one or to ask questions solely out of interest, I was glad.
In my town there is a vast population of Black and Latin individuals which often means lots of heads of beautiful curls. Yet not only did I get to help people with curls, but I had the chance to talk about hair care with people who sported twists, braids, locs, and fros of all shapes and sizes. It was a wonderful experience truly, especially considering that I managed to run out of bonnets within 2 hours of my time. It was especially exciting to walk around the flea market afterwards and see many people shopping around while holding my gift bags.
While I managed to complete my goal, I managed to still have leftover funds. I’ve decided to donate curly hair products to a local homeless shelter which I’ve worked with before called Family Promise. As someone who has very thick curly hair, sometimes the maintenance can not only cost time but money as well. Leave-in conditioners and gels can be quite expensive, and in regards to my mission, I wanted to help as much as I can.
This project has been such an eye opener for me. While I have not only gotten the chance to learn something new, I’ve also had the pleasure of chatting with so many wonderful people about making hair maintenance accessible. Most people would not get a chance to get a free, hand-sewn silk bonnet, so I’m glad people took the chance immediately. I will forever preach that loving our curls is the best thing we can do for them. While it is often financially difficult to accomplish, we as a community can step in and help each other.
-Chrissy James ’24