Friday, April 9, 2021

‘Crown’ event celebrates Black culture

 By Hannah Turnbull

Phylicia Dove had something inside of her that she knew she needed to get out.

After acceptance into top fashion schools, a successful career as a fashion stylist, and even a venture toward law school, Dove still felt that that thing brewing inside her.

And when she finally let that thing out, Black Monarchy was born.

Black Monarchy is a global fashion boutique located at 527 W. Utica St. Dove serves as the owner and lead designer. The boutique sells jewelry and clothes from all around the world, most being from Africa.

That thing inside of Dove was the yearning to combine her passion for fashion and advocacy to celebrate cultures from around the world.  

            “I wanted to create a safe space where people from all cultures could communicate through fashion,” Dove said.

            The store was opened by Dove in August 2017 in the Five Points neighborhood. 

            On April 11, Black Monarchy will be holding its annual Adjust Your Crown event. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event will be held virtually. The event will discuss the history and significance of African headwraps, or as Dove likes to call them, “crowns,” as well as demonstrating the various ways to style them.

               The headwraps are made of 100% authentic African fabric sourced from Ghana, Nigeria, and the Congo. Each participant will receive an authentic Ankara headwrap and learn to style them with confidence.

            “The history of head-wrapping is one of utility, shame, and even pain,” Dove said.

            Headwraps originated in Africa, often being worn to protect women from the sun or heavy baskets that they carried on their heads.

            When Africans were taken to America as slaves, headwraps became a symbol of inferiority. Headwraps were forced upon by slave owners who sought to designate and degrade African Americans as slaves.

            But African American women have redefined the meaning of headwraps, wearing them as a symbol of pride rather than shame, beauty rather than pain. Headwraps have evolved through vibrant colors, sizes, patterns, and embellishments.

            The event will be held virtually on Facebook Live at 5 p.m.

            The wrap styles will  vary from easy to technical, all via a hands-on tutorial.

            “Our attendees can expect to have a fun, free, and open dialogue in a space curated just for us,” Averill Dove, COO of Black Monarchy, said.

            In past years,  the Adjust Your Crown event was extremely successful with tickets quickly selling out. In past years, the event has also been very emotional for some guests. 

            “The bonding that takes place through story sharing, history lessons, and lived experiences allows for room to peel back layers we all once carried, but no more,” Dove said.