Contributing editor Funmi Fetto explains in a Vogue article the significance of Rihanna wearing the cloth, which was used in the time of slavery as a method to “suppress black women’s beauty and distinguish their lowly, inferior status as labourers.”
“Today, the durag, an iteration of the head cloth birthed in oppression, is a celebration of black culture,” writes Fetto.
“The tainted fabric has been reclaimed as a symbol of black beauty, a signifier of style worn on the streets, the catwalk, the red carpet… And now, in a powerful mic-drop moment, the durag is making its first appearance on the May 2020 cover of British Vogue, worn by Rihanna,” she adds.
As well as its cultural significance, the durag has a functional value. Hair stylist Charlotte Mensah told Fetto the stretchable cloth “serves as a tool to keep waves in check. Men with low cuts brush their hair in a forward motion and the durag is put on to compress the hair, creating a wave pattern.”
In the Vogue interview, Rihanna talked about her “imminent” new album, how she parties in London, and what she plans to do in 10 years’ time.
“I’d rather go to Brixton,” Rihanna said in reference to London partying. “But if I do that now, and I try to get some Jamaican food, it’s going to be an event, you know? So if I want a night off, I go hang with the people I would never hang with. And I just, I’m just in my bubble. Which I really enjoy about London.”
And what about that new album of hers? “I can’t say when I’m going to drop . . . but I am very aggressively working on music,” she said. “I don’t want all my albums to feel like themes. There are no rules, there’s no format, there’s nothing. There’s just good music and if I feel it, I’m putting it out.”
As for where she’ll be in 10 years, Rihanna says she’ll have three or four kids by then.
Asked if she’ll have them on her own if she hasn’t met the right person, she said yes.
“Hell yeah, I feel like society makes me want to feel like ‘Oh you got it wrong …,'” she says.
“They diminish you as a mother, [if] there’s not a dad in your kid’s lives. But the only thing that matters is happiness, that’s the only healthy relationship between a parent and a child. That’s the only thing that can raise a child truly, is love.”