If you want to know how to make cornrows, it would probably be easiest to find an instructional video online. This will allow you to get as close as possible without being there in person, but you can also study it at your own speed and on your own time. Obviously the best way to learn anything is with hands on, one-on-one instruction, but sometimes that isn’t practical in today’s busy world. Learning from well-made instructional videos, then, is a fair substitute.
Because the art of braiding hair is such an ancient tradition, it has always been passed down through apprenticeship. Some historians document that African, Nigerian, and Egyptian hieroglyphs and statues dating as far back as 500 B.C. depict figures wearing their hair in this way. Even the majestic Sphinx displays a remarkably similar hairstyle flowing down the back of its head.
These civilizations used to braid hair as part of their cultural identity. It wasn’t the aesthetic pursuit that it is today. In fact, it has been argued that many of the tribal communities during those ancient times used these particular hairstyles to distinguish themselves from other tribes. You could actually determine where a person came from simply based on the way the braids were situated on their head, or if they had specific shells or beads woven in.
While these ancient hairstyles are certainly very unique, ornate, and beautiful, forming them is a painstaking and time consuming process. This is one reason why it is important to learn from someone who has been exposed to the tradition in its most raw form. The instruction you receive from someone who is experienced and connected to the past will be not only more accurate but more meaningful.
This is especially important when you consider that one major reason why traditional African hairstyles are popular today is because they were revived in the 1960s when many African Americans wanted to wear more traditional and natural hairstyles. As the Black Pride Movement created more awareness of black history and identity, these hairstyles grew very quickly in popularity.
Another reason why these styles are so popular today is because of the increasing success of black entertainment. From actors to athletes, to musical artists, black entertainers have also come to rely on this more traditional methodology in order to create a unique identity for themselves and further communicate their connection to their market.