At the end of 2011, I had an idea to create a blog that explored the Haitian-American experience. I wanted the blog not only to document some of the Haitian traditions that we first generation Haitians grew up with, but to also explore how we have or haven’t passed them down to our American raised children. I also had hoped to provide a space where we could discuss anything Haitian or Haitian related. I enlisted my good friend, DJ to work on this project with me, and on January 8, 2012, we posted our very first blog post…and Cornbread and Cremasse was born.
It has been such an amazing year. We posted 52 blog entries (every single Sunday since our inception), and were overwhelmed with support for the blog. Our followers grew exponentially through FB, on Twitter and of course, on the blog site itself. In 2012, we boasted almost 11,000 unique views (from 323 different countries around the world!), and had a little over 250 comments. I realized that first generation Americans from all over are able to relate to some extent to this little thing I thought was the Haitian-American experience.
We are so grateful for the support, for our guest bloggers *applause*, and most importantly for you, our readers!
This week, in honor of our anniversary, we are revisiting our very first blog post “from ribbons to cornrows”. If you didn’t start with us at the beginning, it may be new to you…and if you did, we hope you enjoy the flashback.
Thank you so much — with your help,we are looking forward to an even more amazing year!
Hope you have a very Happy New Year — and keep reading/commenting!!
From Ribbons to Cornrows
Back in the day when my mom was solely in charge of my hair, I had a big cylindrical, Royal Dansk Danish butter cookie tin — you remember, the blue ones? Well mine wasn’t the standard size cookie tin you’re probably thinking about. I had a big one, taller than the regular ones, and it was FILLED with ribbons or rubans (pronounced “ROO-buh”) as we called them at home. That giant tin of ribbons…was for my hair.
I may have had every color and/or pattern imaginable, because my mom managed to coordinate ribbons with every single outfit (I have pictures to prove it!). It never occurred to me where, when or how we had accumulated so many hair ribbons, but apparently they were a “must have” among young Haitian girls. In fact, I remember I could always point out a girl with Haitian parents by the type (usually wide) and quantity (usually more than 2) of hair ribbons she wore.
Every morning, I would sit between my mother’s legs and get my hair done and my ribbons put in. I don’t remember hating the ribbons, but I do remember them coming undone often, it was just a part of my world.
Today I’m solely responsible for my two year old daughter’s hair. I dread having to do her hair weekday mornings – especially since I’m also trying to get my two other young sons together for school, so I find that I often put cornrows or flat twists in her hair to save me time in the morning. Our ritual is a weekly one, in which we sit together and have a braiding session. She sometimes strings the beader for me, and when I’m done she shakes her beads with pride.
When I look at her hair accessories, I see jars of beads (and beading accessories), barrettes, ponytail holders, and a few ribbons (not as many, and not as thick) in a relatively small plastic butterfly case (that my mother bought her). I remember my big Royal Dansk tin, and the connotations of Haitian culture associated with it, and realize that the culture my child will remember when she thinks back on her young hair days will be the African-American one. It’s definitely not a bad thing, it’s just different…and in my case tres convenient.
Did you wear ribbons as a child? Did you have a tin, too? Do you put ribbons in your daughter’s hair? Tell me your ribbon story!