Black Students at University of Maryland Get Silky for First Annual “Durag Day”

 On Thursday October 26, 2017, students pose in their colorful durags, silk scarves, and bonnets in front of Frederick Douglass statue at Hornbake Library in support of UMD Durag Day and #Alleyezonumd. Photo by Aleah Green

On Thursday October 26, 2017, students pose in their colorful durags, silk scarves, and bonnets in front of Frederick Douglass statue at Hornbake Library in support of UMD Durag Day and #Alleyezonumd. Photo by Aleah Green

Twitter has been flooded with pictures of collegiate black men wearing durags on their campus and calling the event “Durag Day.”Durag Day was first seen at Morehouse College of Atlanta, Ga., and it quickly transformed into a movement at other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

On Thursday Oct. 26, students at the University of Maryland banded together for their very own “Durag Day.”

Drew Tawiah, a junior political science major, organized the “Durag Day” photoshoot at UMD. With the intention of creating a more comfortable environment for black students on campus, Tawiah felt that “Durag Dag” was the perfect initiative.

“I decided to bring Durag Day to UMD mainly because I had been seeing a trend on twitter about Durag Day and it seemed to me to be a culture movement that a lot of people were saying was exclusive to HBCUs,” Tawiah said. “But I wanted to show that there aren’t just minorities at HBCU campuses that are able to express themselves, but also that there are minorities in PWIs that can express themselves.”

“So at UMD, I mainly wanted to bring it here so that people felt it was okay to express themselves and be themselves today,” he said.  

With “Durag Day” and his newly created #AllEyezOnUMD, Tawiah is looking for students to no longer have to go to another campus to have a good time, but to know that “we’re just as lit as others.”

“All eyez on UMD is basically a cultural movement here,” he said.  “At this school, a lot of the minority communities don’t really feel like they’re having the best college experience outside of classes, so I kind of want it to be to the point where a lot of people like to come to UMD to have fun and enjoy their college experience.”

For other students such as Maud Acheampong, a sophomore government and politics major, durags can double for a bad hair day and as a fashion accessory.

 Maud Acheampong rocks an orange durag for fashion, style and an embrace of black culture. Photo by Aleah Green.

Maud Acheampong rocks an orange durag for fashion, style and an embrace of black culture. Photo by Aleah Green.

Acheampong said. “And I think it’s weird how it’s seen as ghetto, when it’s actually like a really nice fashion piece.”

For Acheampong,  “Durag Day” in particular “recognizes the fact that there is a black community on campus and also that we recognize the fact that we do have an impact,” she said.

As many guys wore their silky durags in all colors and ladies rocked their silk scarves and bonnets, the day was more than just wearing your night gear in the daytime.

“Having an entire day where people can come out and show something that’s very specifically black and not indicative of any other race, which I think is important,” Acheampong said.

Saba Tshibaka, a sophomore computer science major, decided to wear her bonnet because as she said, “I love my black culture, I love my bonnet, it’s my best friend.” For many black women and men durags and bonnets are a staple and in the community. Whether it’s women wearing a bonnet to preserve their newest hairstyle as they sleep, or men wearing their durags to create and maintain waves in their hair, the two are unifying.

 Saba Tshibaka wears her black bonnet. Photo by Aleah Green.

Saba Tshibaka wears her black bonnet. Photo by Aleah Green.

“Honestly, i had no idea what the number was going to be,” Tawiah said. “I had no idea if it was going to be 50 or if it was going to be 100, but i was just glad that we had a decent turnout and that everybody was excited”

In the upcoming months of school #AllEyezOnUMD plans to continue hosting events that embrace black culture at UMD.

 Tomi Adelekan (left) and Ryan Floyd (right) pose for a picture wearing their silky pink durag and silky blue durag. Photo by Aleah Green.

Tomi Adelekan (left) and Ryan Floyd (right) pose for a picture wearing their silky pink durag and silky blue durag. Photo by Aleah Green.

“Honestly, I had no idea what the number was going to be. I had no idea if it was going to be 50 or if it was going to be 100, but i was just glad that we had a decent turnout and that everybody was excited”

“So All eyez on UMD is basically a cultural movement here at UMD, because at this school a lot of the minority communities, they don’t really feel like they’re having the best college experience outside of classes, so i kind of want it to be to the point where a lot of people like to come to UMD to have fun and enjoy their college experience. Whereas right now, a lot of people want to go to other campuses to do stuff and they don’t seem to have as much pride, so it’s really just a pride thing at our campus, and knowing that we’re just as lit as others.

 Anaiah Hodge (left) and Kyemah Clark (right) sport their silk scarf and bonnet in support of UMD Durag Day.

Anaiah Hodge (left) and Kyemah Clark (right) sport their silk scarf and bonnet in support of UMD Durag Day.

“So, in the future with 'All Eyez on UMD', we’re definitely going to have more events in the spring so that people are able to enjoy their college experience. And my goal is for it not to be something exclusive to UMD, we want other campuses involved with whatever we’re doing. And also, with Durag Day, I just want to say it's not just about the picture we took,  I want people to make sure that they’re ragged up all day, or wearing a scarf or whatever it is, just to kind of show that with whoever you are and whatever you do, you’re true to yourself and you don’t really care about what other have to say. So, that’s really what Durag day is all about, it’s about empowering people and it's about just black unity in general.”