Summer CSGC Grant Update: Black and Beautiful: Satin Bonnets for Hair Repair

For my CSGC Summer grant, I decided to sew and give away 50-100 silk bonnets for people in my community. I decided to do this because bonnets are a large part of hair culture within the black community; additionally most bonnets are made of materials that are damaging to black hair. Silk is a natural material that prevents split ends, friction or dryness to the scalp and strands. However silk is an expensive material, so I understand how most people might not think a silk bonnet is financially necessary. Therefore, I am giving them away for free.

I’ve gone through multiple bonnets that claim to protect my hair and prevent damage while simultaneously managing to break both of those promises. It probably took a little over seven busted polyester and cotton bonnets to convince me to make a change for my hair. I not only realized that my bonnets would easily rip and tear but they also caused my hair to become dry and frail.

After some research, I found that silk bonnets were a great alternative to other materials especially if you have curly hair. After making this purchase, I was glad knowing I would see changes in my hair health; however I wasn’t to glad to see the new $40 hole in my wallet. It made me think about how other people might’ve also been struggling with finding proper protection for their hair; buying my bonnet also made me think about how some people might not be able to afford a proper bonnet and would rather settle for one that’s cheaper but damaging. As silly as it sounds, I wanted all fro’s to get the care they deserved. I figured if some people can’t buy them, I’ll give them away. At the end of the day, I wanted people from my community to know that they weren’t alone.

These past few days, I have been cutting and learning to sew so I could create several high quality bonnets. It has been a busy journey, but with the help of my talented grandmother I can successfully say we have sewed a total of 85 silk bonnets. I am so proud of this milestone and I am eternally grateful for the help I have received. Additionally, I am excited to give them away; I’m glad knowing people from my community will get the proper hair care they deserve.

-Chrissy James ’24