Once upon a time, someone came up with this invention to protect our hair and edges from breakage and retain its moisture: the bonnet. But Sarah Marantz Lindenberg believes she rejuvenated the basic bonnet that we've been using for years and is selling it for $98.
Bonnets, satin and silk head wraps, pillow cases and even fashion headscarves have been used by Black women for quite some time and can cost as low as $4 at your local beauty supply store.
In fact, according to the U.S. National Park Service, during the 1700s in Louisiana [under the Tignon Laws] African women were forced to cover their hair with material fabric as a sign of "belonging to the slave class, whether they were enslaved or not." So, just as Black women have done throughout all of history, we turned something that was forced upon us into something either stylish or resourceful.
Fast forward to 2019, the creator of NightCap produced a product that does the exact same thing as your typical bonnet but wants to sell it for around $100. Whew, chile!
"There were products on the market but none of them had a functional and fashionable solution for me—synthetic fabrics that I felt did more damage, or horrible colours that I felt silly going to sleep in. It inspired me to create something of my own," Lidenberg stated in an interview with Fashion Magazine.
Lidenberg, who is white, had her own reasoning behind capitalizing off of Black culture. According to her, as stated on the company's website, "she began sleeping with a vintage silk scarf to preserve her hair and complexion." And to her, this was some newfound revelation or something.
But the silk bonnet, which is the holy grail of Black culture, has the same benefits as her product and comes in all shapes, sizes and colors to give the best results for ethnic hair. Our hair literally grows in the shape of these bonnets. That's why we use them!
It seems as though Lidenberg has avoided this truth and has become a classic perpetrator of the everlasting issue of cultural appropriation. What’s the problem with duplicating another’s culture and claiming it as your own? A lot. And Black Twitter had a WHOLE lot to say about this “new invention.”
The problem behind the NightCap is not only the price, but the ignorance behind making something which is used simply as a protective net to bed, as a reinvention for fashion purposes because its "ugly." We don't need to look cute to go to bed, and we aren't going to ignore the cultural significance of our beauty supply store bonnets.