Detroit resident Doris Franklin models a traditional Nigerian head wrap June 13 at the Southfield Public Library. Zarinah El-Amin Naeem, a Detroit-based anthropologist and the founder of Beautifully Wrapped, hosted the event on head wrapping.

Detroit resident Doris Franklin models a traditional Nigerian head wrap June 13 at the Southfield Public Library. Zarinah El-Amin Naeem, a Detroit-based anthropologist and the founder of Beautifully Wrapped, hosted the event on head wrapping.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Event explores the art of head wrapping

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published June 19, 2019

 Arwilda Smith, of Southfield, and Jeanie Pope, of Detroit, show off their head wraps.

Arwilda Smith, of Southfield, and Jeanie Pope, of Detroit, show off their head wraps.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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SOUTHFIELD — What started as impromptu tutorials in public bathrooms has turned itself into a movement surrounding the art of head wrapping.

On June 13, the Southfield Public Library hosted Zarinah El-Amin Naeem, a Detroit-based anthropologist and the founder of Beautifully Wrapped, an international interfaith corporation that uses the global art of hair wrapping to build love and understanding.

The event was rescheduled from January due to extremely cold temperatures.

At the event, Naeem taught patrons about the history of head wrapping around the globe, followed by a demonstration. Residents were asked to bring their own 2-yard piece of fabric to learn how to tie.

Naeem said head wrapping can be found in many different cultures for many reasons, including religious protocols and for fashion purposes.

“There are so many different reasons people enjoy head wrapping, and this presentation brings them all underneath one umbrella,” she said. “We’ll talk about the history from a global perspective.”

Naeem said she practices head wrapping, which has sparked a lot of interest from strangers.

“I’ve been wearing head wraps for a really long time. I’d be in the bathroom and they’d say, ‘I really like your scarf,’ so I noticed people’s response to my style and wraps, and that led to people asking me how to tie it,” Naeem said. “I started doing impromptu sessions in the bathroom, and that led to workshops, which were at first really small.”

Outreach librarian Kelly Rembert said the June 13 event wasn’t the first time Naeem has demonstrated her skills at the library.

“This is a great program to come together on a girls night out or a mother-daughter bonding night,” Rembert said in an email. “Zarinah El-Amin Naeem brings such a passion and energy to this program.  This is one of our most requested programs, and we are thrilled to have her back for a third time.”

The event was also open to men and children, Naeem said.

“You always have people in the audience who would never really necessarily wear a wrap or try it or it’s not their thing,” Naeem said. “Once they get the history of it and learn how to do it, they’re literally walking out like their eyes have been opened, and I love that.”

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