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The History of African American Jewelry in the United States

History of Hoops

Highlighting the history of African American jewelry and how it ties in with the historical experiences with African Americans in the United States.

Since slavery to the present, African Americans use of jewelry is a means of expression, resistance, cultural preservation, and celebration. Here is my overview of the history of African American jewelry and the popularity of hoop earrings.

Hoop earrings are deep-rooted in communities of colour and streetwear culture. Unfortunately, not everyone who wears the style acknowledge its significant cultural past and the people it originated from. The style first dates as far back to the 4th century in Africa. For some they were worn for protection and others a symbol of wealth. The hoop earring has various sizes and can be found all around the world. During slavery, hoop earrings were the only jewels that slaves were allowed to wear. The popularity for hoops arose especially during the 60’s among African-American women. This was the period of the emergence of the Black Power movement. Members of this community decided to embrace their past and origins by sporting a look that proudly displayed markers of their culture and history.

Trending Hoop Earrings

The trend continued into the 70s thanks to disco divas such as Diana Ross. During the 80s they became larger in size taking the nickname door knockers. In early 2000s hoops became thinner and bigger. Popular RNB and pop singers wear them. The opposite trend are huggies which are smaller and cuffing the earlobe.

Fashion is inspired by different cultures, however, the issue arises when some women of colour face discrimination for choosing to wear hoops. Non-POCs who wear this style should do so mindfully and educate others on the meaningful discourse and importance regarding race. Hoops as a stylistic choice worn by women of colour should be respected. Today hoops can suite anyone. Hoops designs are limitless and are are must have of jewelry.


Culture and Fashion

Hoop Earrings A Symbol

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