Cornrows are an ancient Afircan form of hair expression, with examples dating back thousands of years and documented in ancient sculptures and hieroglyphics across the continent. The distinct shapes and patterns formed with braids can be used to denote status, mark specific occasions or translate other messages about the individual. Cornrows are also a practical protective style and were worn by enslaved people in America to keep hair off the face – and it’s believed that the name has its roots in the rows found in cornfields, or sugar cane rows in the Caribbean. As well as being a practical option, cornrows are believed to have been used to pass on messages of escape routes, directions and distances in a communication style that was completely undetectable and untraceable. 

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