Now, it’s a known fact black women have been wearing hair wraps, scarves, caps, or bonnets to protect our hair for CENTURIES…even forced by law to wear them during slavery times. But leave it to an uninformed white woman to try to take credit for a staple in the black community…the silk hair bonnet.
Sarah Marantz Lindenberg, founder of NiteCap, is being accused of cultural appropriation for “creating” a sleep bonnet even though they’ve been in existence for forever. Lindenberg said in an interview with Fashion Magazine she got the idea while planning her wedding, as she was experiencing breakouts on her face, neck and back at the time and wanted something that would protect her hair and skin while she slept.
“My concept came out of a problem that needed solving,” Lindenberg said. “There were products on the market but none of them had a functional and fashionable solution for me — synthetic fabrics that I felt did more damage or horrible colors that I felt silly going to sleep in. It inspired me to create something of my own.”
The NiteCap website states, “To her delight, she noticed how much better her hair looked in the morning, her blowouts lasted longer and yes, her skin improved too.” Lindenberg said on the site she began sleeping with a vintage silk scarf “to preserve her hair and complexion” and was inspired by “the rich history of hair wrapping.”
Well, it wasn’t until black Twitter users noted the roots sleeping caps have in black culture — facts that were missing from a profile on NiteCap published by Fashion Magazine. However, an editor’s note has since been added, stating, “Though not strictly used just for sleeping, the item has a long history in black hair culture.” Damn right it does! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
According to the U.S. National Park Service, in the 1700s, the Tignon Laws forced African women in Louisiana to wear a scarf over their hair as a visible sign of “belonging to the slave class, whether they were enslaved or not.” The National Park Service’s website states, “Those women affected by the law did, in fact, cover their hair, but they did it with elaborate fabrics and jewels — an action which technically meant the letter of the law but also allowed them to maintain their standards of fashion and beauty.” And that’s just Louisiana.
But the lack of regard to the history behind the silk cap is not even half of the issue. Lindenberg not only is taking credit for the creation of the silk bonnet, she‘s also overcharging for it…and other uninformed white women are eating it up. Lindenberg’s NiteCap retails for $98. Not $5.99 like the beauty supply store; but a whole Benjamin for a silk cap.
It didn’t take long for Black Twitter to pop out with the backlash and history lessons, seeking an explanation as to why, once again, our culture is being exploited with no credit to us.
One Twitter user wrote, “So let me get something straight. A white woman is capitalizing on satin bonnets (FOR NINETY-EIGHT GOTDAMN DOLLARS) as if it’s some new thing she just invented. My black grandma who yelled at me for not keeping my bonnet on overnight is rolling in her damn grave, I just know it.”
Another user tweeted, “This is nothing new’ there is no ‘discovery’ Ms. Marantz made and this piece misleads the reader to the history of this product.” One fed up user wrote on Twitter, “Ppl see something they like, copy it & make claim that they created it. My suggestion, put something on your website, that is more than just a flippant sentence about hair wrappings origins & help to educate your clientele. #SarahMarantz #nitecapco”
Reportedly since the release of the article, Lindenberg has deleted her Facebook account and disabled comments on her Instagram to combat the backlash. Lindenberg nor NiteCap were able to be reached for comment.