Hoop Earrings Are More Than A Trend
In light of the Black Lives Matter movement and the injustices that black people are facing every day, it seems necessary to acknowledge and credit the influence that black women have had on today's popular earring styles.
Earrings and, more specifically, hoop earrings have been worn by humans since at least 2600 BC in some reports. Hoop earrings were first known to be worn by the Sumerians (present-day Iraq), and were also known to be worn by Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Nubians, Greeks and may other cultures over thousands of years.
Although hoop earrings have existed in various forms since the beginning of human history (the Sumerians were the first people to keep records), this blog post is focused on more recent history.
In the 1960s and 1970s, during the Black Power movement, hoop earrings became popular with black women embracing Afro-Centric styles. Hoops were very popular among black female activists, artists, and celebrities.
Hoops exist in minority groups as more than just an accessory, they are symbols of resistance, strength, and identity. For this reason, even though they have been around for thousands of years, they became synonymous with black culture in the 20th century.
In the 90's, Salt N Pepa popularized the door-knocker hoop trend. The door-knocker hoops were a staple among black women; yet white culture criticized the style and called them 'ghetto'. Years later, fashion magazines decided large hoops were popular and called them a trend. Black women were discriminated against for wearing door knocker hoops, and hoops in general, so for fashion magazines to label them a "trend" or hot fashion accessory is incredibly offensive. Hoops are symbols of black culture and the injustices black women have faced.
Recently, hoops have once again become a very popular mainstream earring style. However, that has brought along some more controversy. Given that hoops are such a powerful symbol of black culture, many consider it to be cultural appropriation for white women to wear hoop earrings. Cultural appropriation is the adoption of an element of one culture by people from another culture (especially when this is done by a dominant culture stealing from a minority culture).
Black women undoubtedly have brought hoops into the mainstream, and have sustained their popularity as an accessory for decades. Black women deserve credit for their influence on popular style. When you wear your hoop earrings, remember the women who popularized this style and recognize the injustices that they are facing every day.