Zariyah Harris Wants to Encourage Black Women to Wear Their Bonnets
Hats, caps, veils, scarfs, and bandanas. With the various head coverings that are often seen, there are two in particular that have garnished up a bad reputation when it comes to be being seen out in public. I hadn’t thought too much about it until a few months ago when I started back wearing a bonnet myself.
I stopped covering my hair with a bonnet for two years and my hair completely stopped growing. It was breaking off faster than it could grow. As I began to understand the benefits of wearing a bonnet, I also began to wonder why there is such a taboo about women wearing bonnets out in public; it’s often seen as unprofessional, ghetto, or unbecoming. As an item that covers our hair not for fashion, but for protection, I can’t help but wonder about this narrative that says wearing a protective cover on my hair in public is frowned upon. I took this opportunity to sit down with Zariyah Harris, founder and owner of Bourgeois Essentials, which sells luxury high quality bonnets and durags at an affordable price.
Dove: Zariyah tell me more about Bourgeois Essentials and how you got started.
Zariyah: I started Bourgeois Essentials while I was working a full time job as a long term temp administrative assistant. I knew I wanted to start a business that provided a unique product that couldn’t be found in the beauty supply store. Something different from the regular bonnets that are found in the beauty supply store, plus, I felt like the quality of the bonnets weren’t up to par. I wanted to create something that I would be proud to wear any and everywhere, not only because of how it looks, but because of how great the quality of the product is.
Dove: When we spoke previously, you mentioned moms being criticized for wearing bonnets to their children’s school. Why do you think bonnets and durags get such a negative response when worn out in public?
Zariyah: The reason why I think bonnets and Durags have such a negative response when worn in public is because society has set standards of beauty and professionalism that doesn’t support our culture. Therefore, our head coverings are seen as classless. I want to change that and re-invent bonnets and durag as a symbol. They are our crowns.