The Weight of a Crown

I’m Pentecostal. Furthermore, I’m Church of God In Christ or COGIC for those of you familiar with the acronym. We’re considered Evangelical Christians, and nine times out of ten, you’ve enjoyed the music from our members, and the acting of some of them too. Denzel Washington is COGIC and I’ve been in the same room with him more often than I’d like to admit. But I digress. Being COGIC means that I’ve been privy to seeing a multitude of hats adorning the heads of some great women. Most of those hats will rival anything that you can bring against them. Think Kentucky Derby, or a Royal wedding. We’re game. 

Our International Convocation is this year, and I love going. I love worshiping with the saints of God, and I love the fellowship of seeing all of the people that I don’t get to see enough of in general. It’s almost exactly the same as a blog conference, except with a heavy focus on worship, and I’m here for it. 

The Weight of a Crown

I recently threw my hat into the ring (see what I did there) and became a card carrying member of the COGIC hat crew. I love me a good hat, but it took a while for me to get there. It started with a gold cloche that I borrowed from my grandmother for Easter 2011. After that, I was hooked, and while my hat collection is still very small, I still enjoy calling up my granny and asking if there is a hat that I can borrow to carry that honor. 

Easter Dress

One of the things that I’ve loved most about being COGIC, outside of the fact that our worship is off the chain fantastic, are the hats that the women wear with such royalty. Sure, most people on the outside see it as a HUGE fashion show, and yes, some of the hats are just ridiculously large, but when done right, you can NOT beat a COGIC woman wearing a crown. If you think you can, I challenge you to try. Have you ever seen someone wear a hat and still get their praise on. Happens in church all of the time. We know how to praise honey! Even if the hat flies off of our head during that praise, I’m willing to bet bottom dollar that someone is going to make sure that your hat doesn’t stay on the ground too long. 

Mamanista-Fridays

I especially want to highlight the women that I’m related to. My mom, my Granny, and my Granny Blackburn. Baby, they WEAR some hats and in the case of my Granny Blackburn, she could wear one too. I remember being a kid and wondering when I would be old enough to wear a hat and look as regal as they did. However, when I did reach the age of being able to wear the crown, I shied away from it. I felt like I was playing dress-up. Like a little kid. It took me until I was thirty to wear my first “church hat” and I had to do so with the support of a friend from church. We formed a bond through bringing church hats back to the younger crowd and decided that we would make it regal again. We did. And I’m not saying that to brag, we really brought back the love of hats in our church that was only home to elderly hat wearers. 

The Weight of a Crown

To me, our pride often lies in things that most people don’t look to much into. There is something so amazingly fierce about a black woman in a hat. I know that someone will see this sentence and automatically bristle. This isn’t saying that other women of different races don’t look fantastic in a hat, but given that during the days of slavery, sometimes the only individuality and ownership of something that women could show was through their hats, I think it’s a big deal, and I consider it an honor to carry that banner. It was a way for us to feel human, and beautiful, and worthy, and like the Queens we have always been.You know, Pantsuit Nation is a thing now, and I understand how certain women want to embrace that. Unfortunately, black women weren’t given the right to vote with the Suffragettes. We still had to listen to what other people planned for us. Their desires. While still wearing our crowns, and keeping our peace on Sundays.

I think that with today being such an important day for America (oh GOD is it important) maybe we should wear what we wore on our one day of “freedom” from the fields. Our church hats. I know that some of you don’t have any, but I bet your moms, aunts, and grannies do. 

The Weight of a Crown

There are days that I feel like that little girl looking in amazement as her mama adjusted her crown, hoping and wishing that I look as magnificent as she does. Then there are days that I adjust the crown on my head and catch that glimmer of hope from my own daughters. 

The Weight of a Crown

As I gather all of the clothes for the family for our visit to St. Louis this week, I’m reminded just how much weight the crown of my ancestors carries. This isn’t a weight that’s a burden. It’s one that allows our necks to hold up all of the pride we can muster. The joy in being able to worship the way that we want. VOTE the way we want. The knowledge of how far we come, and how we’ve always maintained control of our situations. Whether that comes from a hat or a hymn, I’m just proud to be in the number. 

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim Ellis
    November 8, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Girlllllll! !! You just told a whole story! !! What a beautiful gift you just shared. I’ll never look at a church lady’s hat the same. My grandmother and my mother had a huge collection of hats and when my mom passed, her hats had already been ‘willed’ to certain church Mothers and my youngest sister. Had the history and meaning behind these crowns been known to me I would have gladly acceted the baton and donned one of those crowns at least once per year!!! And you wear them well for such a youngin!!!!

  • Reply
    Carissa (The Green Eyed Lady)
    November 8, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Love this post!!! Im Primitive Baptist and our convention is in August…and we see LOTS of HATS!!! I haven’t started wearing them yet, but I feel in a couple of years I may start! Growing up in church it was a little girls dream to start wearing hats like the grown up ladies!!! And even though we are Pant Suit Nation…Im still all about a good dress or suit and a hat!!

  • Reply
    Sho
    November 8, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Girl… You preachin’!

  • Reply
    Jenny Lauck
    November 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Love this, and love you!

  • Reply
    Kristina Kostopoulos
    November 8, 2016 at 9:07 am

    I’m inspired!

  • Reply
    Brenda
    November 9, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Amen and it is so…back in the day…our mothers told us, “You ain’t dress til’ you put on a hat!” We have succumbed to come as you are and we stayed as we came. If He is the King of Kings, let me adorn my crown to worship Him. Good post my dear! !

  • Reply
    Melisa Wells
    November 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I love this entire post and also you sure can rock a hat!

  • Reply
    LisaR.
    November 12, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Love this post and the pictures! I would love to meet you and family one day! : )

  • Reply
    Nancy
    November 15, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Girl this post was everything!!! I love, love, love hats, and I also have always wanted to be able to wear those lovely church hats when I was younger. I saw these women wear them with such pride that I told myself that I couldn’t wait to do the same. Unfortunately, that pride became lost as the years went by. Thank you so much for the reminder and the reason why it is important to do so. Now that I’m much older, I hope to be able to finally adorn my crown.

    Ps: You are rocking those hats!!

  • Reply
    Easter Gifts for the Family
    October 21, 2019 at 11:02 am

    […] really, really, really like hats. Headdresses and crowns make me giddy. You can see how I flaunt them in various posts that […]

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