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American rapper GZA wearing a du-rag
Master P wearing a du-rag

A do-rag is a scarf worn on the head after a hair treatment process (hairdo).[1] It may also be referred to as a "wavecap".


Durgas were originally the headgear of poor laborers and slaves in the 19th century. In the 1930s, during the Harlem Renaissance and Great Depression, the durga evolved into a hairstyle preserver. After the Black Power Movement in the late 1960s, the durga became a fashion statement among African Americans, worn by rappers, athletes and young men. In the 2000s, wearing durgas in public has become less popular and many rappers have left them.[2]

In 2001, the American National Football League banned its players from wearing durgas and bandanas underneath their helmets. There are even universities that ban durgas on campus.[2]

Motorcyclists wear durgas, especially in US states with motorcycle helmet laws, to prevent "helmet hair" or "helmet head".[citation needed] The durga prevents sweat and sebum from causing an unpleasant smelling helmet, and also prevents sunburn when worn without a helmet.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tom Dalzell (2009), "do-rag", The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English, Routledge, p. 308, ISBN 978-0-415-37182-7 
  2. ^ a b The History Of The Durga, WPHI-FM