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

A du-rag is a scarf worn on the head after a hair treatment process (hairdo).[1]


Du-rags were originally the headgear of poor laborers and slaves in the 19th century. In the 1930s, during the Harlem Renaissance and Great Depression, the du-rag evolved into a hairstyle preserver. After the Black Power Movement in the late 1960s, the du-rag became a fashion statement among African Americans, worn by rappers, athletes and young men. In the 2000s, wearing du-rags in public lost popularity. However, because of rappers, such as A$AP Ferg, and the return of waves as a hairstyle, they have now regained their status as a fashion among the African American community.

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

Motorcyclists wear du-rags, especially in US states with motorcycle helmet laws, to prevent "helmet hair" or "helmet head".[citation needed] The du-rags 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