Why I Need My Door-Knocker Earrings

In February 2020, I came across this project called ‘Hoops’ written by Nicole Acosta. This project talked about this ‘trend’ of hoop earrings, and how popular fashion magazines have deemed something Black and Brown women have worn for generations. Generations. With that said, here is my take. Please see (and read) the articles referenced. -JBHarris

Students of color: White girls wearing hoop earrings oppress and ...
The hoop earrings? They have never gone out of style. Imma need Becky to stop biting out style. Now.

It had to be an article in either Glamour or Vogue that said ‘hoop earrings were back in fashion.’ My immediate thought was, “Where did they go?” I love fashion and style, and always considered earring a part of that! I have worn hoop earrings for 20 years! A comfortable size hoop for me are ones that touch my shoulders! With my day job, I can’t wear hoops that big–but trust! Hoop earrings are equivalent to Wonder Woman’s bracelets man! I need them, because they are a part of me and my identity.

The thing that I have never really been able to understand is how did hoop earrings go from something being ‘ghetto’, ‘trashy’ or ‘too Black’ and when a Becky decides to wear them (trust because she saw a melaninated woman wear them! In my experience, White women don’t just WEAR hoop earrings!), now it’s fashion! Now, it’s trendsetting! I mean, Urban Outfitters sells hoop/doorknocker earrings! Make this make sense, Batman!

I have seen non-melaninated women claim before this en vogue turn of events that hoop earrings were ‘ghetto’ and low class. I have seen the world now embrace everything Black women (and men) have created from fashion, to style, and swag to say now (that it is profitable!) what is acceptable. I have been seeing Black women in hoop earrings since I before I could read! I wanted these things, these circles hanging off the ears of my mother, grandmother and aunts. That was the reason I wanted my ears pierced so badly. Clearly, to be a Queen, you needed some damn hoop earrings!

Hoop Earrings | Silver & Gold Hoop Earrings | PrettyLittleThing USA
I need these.

My hoop earrings are the most chic Teddy Bear I could ever, ever own! These are the earrings which make me feel the most formidable and feminine. They are the signal that I am not to me messed with, and I see everything–even the stuff you think I don’t! They are ancestral, and cultural. They are my reminder of my past life a Queen in a land untouched by colonization. They accent my features, elongate my neck, and make my eyes shine like diamonds.

I reached for these to finish my undergrad, every day for 4 months. I wore these and pair of earrings with elephants on them. I reached for these when I did my first book signing. I reached for these when I thought I left the house with no earrings. I feel my prettiest, most secure in my blackness and womanness with these.

There are certain things that Black women do that cannot be replicated on other women. I am aware it is not just Black women whom wear hoop earrings. I am by no means saying you have to have to be Black to wear them! But I am saying is hoop earrings are a Black girl cultural staple. They are a staple for Latina girls. Some stuff just belongs to people! So, since it belongs to people, people outside of that space or culture can neither claim origin or ownership.

This is cultural appropriation.

Jesse is still a mood.

Just like Becky and Karen feel they can wear cornrows and hoops and claw acrylic nails as costumes (yes, YOU, Katy Perry!)–you will not demean US for wearing the same things as we move about in the world.

Even typing this, I’m wearing my hoop earrings with my favorite hair wrap. And I have never felt more gorgeous. Besides, after this quarantine, I get to give my oldest daughter her first pair.

[images from thecollegefix.com, prettylittlethings.com and blog.questionbridge.com]