I know you have missed these features and what better way to open the month of May than with an outstanding feature! So, it’s with great pleasure that I am presenting our featured WrapStar……(drum roll please)….Sista Isatta! She hails from the beautiful island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands! I happen to love Tortola; so featuring Isatta also allows me to pretend I am back on the island feeling that cool ocean breeze and taking in the beautiful sites and friendly people!
But this is not about me (smiles); this is about Isatta and her stylish head wrapping creations and a method which is reminiscent of African queens. Before we delve in to Isatta’s wraps and probe into the hows, whys, and whens of head wrapping, let’s find out some details about who she is! And what better way to do so than by reading what she has to say about herself:
“I am a Rastafarian sistren, wife and mother of two beautiful suns (please note that Isatta refers to her sons as “suns”, it is not a typo). I’m a very family oriented person and enjoy spending time with my family. I have a great job as an Assistant Environmental Health Officer (Public Health Inspector). I love my job as it gives me an opportunity to help others make safer choices regarding their health as it relates to the environment and keeping it safe. In my spare time I enjoy sewing and creating jewelry”; some of which can be found at www.facebook.com/sisisatta.”
Ann-Marie: I recently visited a Bobo Shanti camp and when I told the group a little about it, some were very interested in Rastafari order. May I ask what order (of Rastafari) you belong to and does that determine what kind or style of head wrap you wear?
Sista Isatta: “I follow no particular order of Rastafari. I respect and embrace all houses of Rastafari. I do however give ises (praises) through the Nyahbinghi chanting and drumming. It doesn’t influence how I wrap my head, how I wrap is what’s comfortable for me and what suits me. I think the most important thing really is that one is properly covered during service.”
Ann-Marie: Let’s talk about the reasons you wrap your head. Of course, Rastafari being the most obvious, but are there any other reasons?
Sista Isatta: “I wrap my head for many reasons. As an African Rastafari woman it’s part of my cultural identity. I wrap in honor and remembrance of my ancestral tradition. I also wrap for modesty; to avoid unwanted negative vibrations to my locks; and to avoid persons touching my locks without my consent. Covering my head has benefits as an Assistant Environmental Health Inspector in terms of protection from environmental pollution and contamination.
In my line of work I have to come in contact with a lot of unsanitary and poor environmental conditions so it’s very important that I cover up. I also want my suns (sons) to really see a positive image of the woman because to be honest, these days there is nothing left for the imagination. I want them to love and respect modest queens and know that a woman can be modestly dressed and still be beautiful. I want to be that role model for them!”
Sista Isatta: “I refer to them as my “suns” simply because they are the “light” in my life. They are the future, everything that I do in my life they are the motivation and inspiration to keep persevering and breaking down barriers because I want life to be much better, much brighter for them. They are the light Jah (God) blessed me within this sometimes dark place that we live in.”
Isatta taught herself how to wrap in high school and has worn wraps for approximately nine years. Her mood, the occasion and the type of material are her head wrap muses. But like many other women, she is also inspired by her outfit and as you can see, the colors of her head wrap are often complimentary to the colors of her clothing.
For me, what stuck out most about Isatta is the way the head wrap compliments and frames her beautiful face. Her head wrap is not simply an accessory; it’s the crown that completes her regal and classy appearance. Surely, I am not the only person that saw her photos and immediately thought of royalty. She says; “I just try to do me and what makes me feel comfortable and beautiful.” Isatta prefers to wrap her locks on top of her head like a crown, a style often referred to as the Nefertiti or Badu.
She does not have a specific type of garment to wear with her wraps, instead she allows her wraps to compliment everything she wears. She says; “I try to dress modestly and still maintain my own sense of style. I wrap according to the garment and I try to color coordinate so that my wrap blends nicely with what I’m wearing.”
“Yes, it has been very difficult gaining employment. My first job in particular, I lost because I started wrapping my head. I didn’t go to the interview with my head wrapped; I was hired for the job but before I started I began to wrap regularly.
I got a lot of resistance from my employer and the persons I was working with, stating it was not a very good “look” for their organization. Shortly thereafter, I lost my job. After that I sought out other employment opportunities but most of them just focused on my appearance and not my credentials. I was encouraged to stop wrapping my head and kept hearing that having my head wrap will hinder me being very successful in life.
It was rough but I held onto my faith and kept wrapping. Eventually, I did find employment in an organization where I was accepted with my head wrap. Even though I’m employed I still face challenges in terms of being stereotyped and discriminated against because I wear a turban. Before, it really bothered me that people would treat me so differently because of a head wrap but I’ve come to the point right now that I’m so comfortable with who I am and what I want to represent.
I ‘m no longer really bothered by the negative perceptions that others have of me and how I carry myself. I may not look like the typical woman on the street and that’s okay, I’m fine with that. I prefer to get attention dressing modestly and being who am I than to gain acceptance by being someone that I’m not.”