Students from the University of Texas at Austin decided to celebrate #UTDuragDay and sprinkle Black Girl Magic and Black Boy Joy all over their very white campus. Durags are a staple in African-American culture when it comes to keeping one's hair laid and were usually only worn indoors. But thanks to its rise in popularity of urban culture, the durag has become more widely acceptable.
With the black community only making up four percent UT’s campus, the movement was important because it was a chance for Black students to unite as a community. Durag Day originally began at Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Atlanta last month. UT students Mbayi Aben, Jonathon McDaniel, Christopher Plummer and Ukairo Ukairo loved the concept and organized it on UT’s campus, making it the first predominantly white institution (PWI) to do so.
Ukairo, a junior radio, television and film major, captured this momentous occasion for the campus on video, which he simply described as "black people, just being ourselves."
The young men and women equipped with their durags, bonnets and scarves in various colors and patterns took over the UT grounds for the entire day glowing with pride. At a PWI, students of color do not always have the chance to express themselves in a way they feel most comfortable. They fear being criticized for acting "too Black."
“I am not ashamed of my Blackness and I want other students to know that it’s OK to appreciate your Blackness and appreciate where you are from. #UTDuragDay was for Black people to appreciate themselves, and I hope this will allow other cultures and nationalities to open up themselves,” Plummer told to BET.com.
“On campus walking to class, we would get certain looks and I remember one lady saying, 'We're a little to hood for a Wednesday,'" explained McDaniel.
Other people of color see wearing a durag in public as part of a stereotype of being "too ghetto." But #UTDuragDay was an attempt to break these stereotypes and have students embrace their culture.
“If you come to PWIs, there are people who look like you! We have a voice and are in this together. You won't be alone,” said Mbayi Aben
UT students are paving the way for other predominately white institutions to join the movement, such as Texas State University and Texas A&M.
(Photo: JonnyMac10_ via Instagram)
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