Monday, October 04, 2010

Oh la la! Didn't Your Grandma Warn You About Waist Beads?!

Mad love to Gifty Abena Otiwaa Arhin for getting me excited enough about a topic to blog about it. Paa Kwesi, I haven't forgotten about yours but you have to agree that Gifty has burned you small with her topic.

Waist beads. Ahondze. 

Ei ei.

look at this picture, and tell me. 
Where do we begin? 

To give the men some time to perch on the corner of their seats, let's begin with Gifty's questions.

1. Do female adults continue wearing waist beads?? 
Absolutely. My grandma still wears waist beads, so there's your answer. 
Do young women wear it, yep. They wear it a little differently than our grandmas though. The ones I've seen the older people wearing are the traditional clay beads. They're a bit heavy. Like what we see the picture here.

The younger women on the other hand, wear the thinner, slinkier-looking beads, often with gold pendants and other accessories thrown in. Mostly they're hidden under our clothes but one hot lady at my old workplace used to rock hers visibly. I was a bit shocked the first time I saw it, but I got used to it over time, and wished I had the chutzpah to do the same. But she was also 10 years or so older than me so maybe I'll get bolder and more comfortable with these things over time.  I think she said she got them from Abidjan. They looked nicer than anything I've seen in Ghana.

2. When you came to the U.S did you wear waist beads?
Yes, some of the time. I bought 3 slinky strings one vacation when I was in Ghana. I never liked the ones you had to tie with a knot so I was happy to find ones that could be fastened with a clasp. I wore them for several years and then I think they broke one, by one. My boyfriend loved them so I dunno why I didn't get new ones when the old ones broke. I remember oggling Sewra's waistbeads for a long time, but always thinking that they were way too pricey. I regret not getting them now.

About a year ago, I got 2 strings from the Whiteley's store at the Accra Mall. You know the store that sells African stuff right next to the Silver Bird Bookstore. Yep. That one. They cost like 15 cedis/string! I dunno what expired weed I was smoking that day but I bought 2 too! And they weren't even that nice. Nothing like Sewra's beads. Ugh! I think I only got them because these too, were fastened with clasps. Alas, I got home, tried them on and discovered...that my ass is smaller than I imagined. They dropped to the ground! So those overpriced beads are still sitting in a rafia basket in my bathroom. If any big booty gal wants them, please let me know and I'll gladly pass them along.

Aww, have me drooling over these beads now. I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaant one! Okay, if anyone wants to get me something for Christmas...try these. My waist measurement is 27, and my hip is 39. I just measured. lol.

I don't know anyone making gorgeous waist-beads like these in Accra. I have a friend who makes bead necklaces at reasonable prices. His name is Tony. He's one of the street guys. Maybe I can get him to make me something special. Gifty!!! Your fault:)

3. Where did the idea of wearing beads around your waist come from and what is its meaning? 

Yie! History. 

Frankly, I don't know. 

But I think at least one of our very smart, and knowledgeable blog readers will know. So please come out and educate us. Paa Kwesi? Help?! 

The myth is that wearing them consistently over time gives the wearer an hourglass figure. The truth is that some African men looooove it, and if you got dem tins on, all ya gots to do is erm, finger them a little and bat your eyelashes..and erm....agor n'asɔ.