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Black Girls in Durham, NC, School Denied Right to Honor African Heritage

It started as a collective expression of pride. A group of young women at the School for Creative Studies in Durham, N.C., decided to wear head wraps—also called geles—to align with and honor their culture at the start of Black History Month.

Instead, they say administrators warned that they were in violation of the dress code and threatened them with suspension. They were given the choice to wear the geles only in a way that allowed their hair to show or to remove them altogether. According to the policy, “hats, caps, hoods, sweat bands and bandannas or other head wear worn inside [the] school building” are impermissible, but it details nothing about garments worn in accordance with cultural tradition.

“It says to me symbolically that our girls—and our boys, as well—have to alter not only their attire, but their whole selves in order to seem less disruptive or offensive,” said Dosali Reed-Bandele. Her daughter Nandi, an 11th-grader at the school, was among those admonished. “This is utterly ridiculous and I am tired of those messages bombarding our babies day in and day out.”

That the enforcement is falling heavy on this particular segment of students is part of the cycle of inequitable standards, a tradition in and of itself. The young women also say they were told that they were not being inclusive to other students at the school. Because, of course, being expressly proud of being black compromises the ability of others to be expressly proud of their variety of nonblack.

The bright spot: In the same glorious way that black women have always pushed back against the limitations and obstacles pressing in on them, those young women being told how to wear their blackness helped organize a mass demonstration Monday afternoon to rally community support. Clusters of protesters showed up wearing their own geles, calling for administrators to acknowledge students’ rights to honor their heritage. Particularly at a school focused on creative studies, that form of expression seems elementary since cultural pride lies so close to the root of identity and self-perception.

Students and parents are encouraging supporters to stand in solidarity by posting pictures of themselves in their own geles with the hashtag #ItsBiggerThanaHeadwrap. They also invite fellow advocates to send letters of support for the girls and their right to wear head wraps and to demand an apology for being threatened with suspension.

We can’t continue to absorb messages—both subtle and overt—that attempt to keep black girls boxed in.

Outrage After Video Showing Pa. Teen With Cerebral Palsy Being Attacked by Student

The mother of Penn Hills, Pa., teen Isaiah Wooding said she cried when she saw video of students at Penn Hills High School bullying and kicking her 16-year-old, who has cerebral palsy.

NC Students Plan Demonstration After Girls Told to Take Off African Head Wraps 

A handful of students at Durham, N.C.'s School for Creative Studies had planned to kick off Black History Month with a bang by wearing colorful head wraps reminiscent of those worn by many women across the African continent. 

When States Run Welfare, Black Children Are the Ones Who Get Hurt 

Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton signed legislation dismantling the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children welfare program. The law transformed welfare into Temporary Assistance to Needy Families—essentially block grants to states to use for job training and child care subsidies to enable recipients to attain financial independence and take “personal responsibility” as its advocates claimed. So, how would we assess the program two decades on, especially in light of Republican presidential candidates’ call for more devolution and state control

WPGC

WATCH: Kevin Hart Freaks Out About Seeing Reptiles on Australian Talk Show

Comedian/actor Kevin Hart. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) "I didn't work this hard to make it here and die today," he said.

Kanye West to Retire and Design Children’s Clothing?

(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images) "I’m only working on kid’s clothing...full time."

6 Reasons Why Beyonce’s Halftime Performance was the Most ‘Beyonce’ Moment Ever

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) There's a lot of reasons why her performance was pretty mind-blowing.

Pr. George’s Elementary School Volunteer Charged With Child Sex Abuse, Pornography

Photo credit: Prince George's County Police A Glenarden man, 22-year-old Deonte Carraway, has been arrested and charged with child sexual abuse and producing child pornography.

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TMZ

Amber Rose & Blac Chyna -- Ass Carnival (PHOTOS)

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LeSean McCoy -- The Brutal Bar Fight Video

TMZ Sports has obtained footage of the LeSean McCoy bar fight video -- in which you can see the NFL star's face ... as mayhem ensues in a brawl that left 2 off-duty cops badly injured. Multiple sources at the Philly PD have verified ... this video…

Khloe Kardashian -- Date Night with French Montana ... At the Strip Joint (VIDEO)

Khloe Kardashian could have a future at the L.A. County Fair as a professional juggler, because she hikes with a husband, sometimes dates a basketball player, and hangs with her ex-boyfriend ... all at the same time. Khloe and…

DMX -- Not Breathing, No Pulse

8:30 AM PT -- DMX denies taking any powder or drugs. He says all he remembers is having shortness of breath after suffering bronchitis for a couple of days. A family member says X asked for his inhaler (for asthma) right before he fell…

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