Because who could possibly know us better than ourselves?

Have you ever started doing your hair for work and couldn’t decide between wearing a blowout or twisting it into Bantu knots? Was there any thought around what one hairstyle represented in Black culture versus the other?

Let’s jump back to the 1500s for a second. In Africa, braids were used as a communication tool between different communities and societies, a sacred way to hold on to identity. Today, it’s no secret that Black hairstyles are still used as a communication tool; they set the precedent for fashion, film, and TV all over the world.

It got us thinking… how much do we know about the historically rich places that inspire our favorite hairstyles and accessories? So, we decided to put our opinions (and brains) together and created a six-question quiz about the ancestral and generational heritage rooted in Black hair. You with us?

Counting down in three, two, one.

1. Which protective hairstyle is a long-standing tradition in Black culture, meaning “people” in over 300 African languages?

(Hint: It involves stacking hair upon itself in a spiraled knot.)

a. Himba (him-buh)

b. Maasai (MAH-sigh)

c. Bantu knots (ban-tew)

d. Ngala (en-galla)

e. Tigray braids (tee-gray)

Hairstyle in braids showing back of the head

2. Braiding is a major style that so many of us use to express ourselves, our personalities, and our creativity. What did enslaved people escaping to freedom use their braids for?

a. As a communication tool

b. As a roadmap of the Underground Railroad

c. To hide gold and seeds to sustain them

d. All of the above

Side profile silhouette of African hairstyle

3. Which African hair braid was originally worn by Mangbetu women from the Congo?

(Hint: The crown-like hairstyle was featured in a famous performer’s 2020 musical film!)

a. Edamburu

b. Maasai (MAH-sigh)

c. Bantu knots (ban-tuu)

d. Himba (him-buh)

e. Tigray braids (tee-gray)

Collage depicting traditional protective hairstyle in spiraled knots

4. Known as a look that communicates power, pride, and resistance, what hair style became a symbol of self-empowerment and activism in the United States in the 1960s?

a. Locs

b. Twist Out

c. Cornrows

d. Box Braids

e. Afro

African style print with gold, red, black patterns and shapes

5. What is the name of the Nigerian wedding ceremony hair accessory, seen as a symbol of elegance?

a. Ngala (en-galla)

b. Maasai (MAH-sigh)

c. Tigray braids (tee-gray)

d. Himba (him-buh)

e. Edamburu

Artistic collage depicting Nigerian hair accessories on a silhouette

6. What popular hairstyle in Ethiopia is known for tall braids that split into two, framing the face like a headband?

a. Maasai (MAH-sigh)

b. Tigray braids (tee-gray)

c. Himba (him-buh)

d. Ngala (en-galla)

e. Edamburu

Side profile silhouette of a crown-like hairstyle

Aaaaannd you’re finished! Not too hard, eh? Let’s see how well you did. Check out the answer key below to see how your results stack up.

1. c. Bantu knots (ban-tew) | 2. d. All of the above | 3. a. Edamburu | 4. e. Afro | 5. a. Ngala (en-galla) | 6. b. Tigray braids (tee-gray)


Maybe you misnumbered? We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt...


One is better than none! Right...?


You know a lil’ of this, a lil’ of that. Two right ain’t too bad.


We see this result as the glass being half full.


OK, look at you! (Kinda) knowing things and stuff.


Congrats, you got all but one correct! Like almost being perfect, but you’re not.


You are an educated queen! (And a pro at taking quizzes.) Now go brag to someone. We support it.