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New Musical Examines Hats In Black Women History

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Some are elaborate, some are unusual, while others you’d barely know are there. We’re talking about women and their hats.

Kai Jackson reports a new musical at Morgan State University examines the phenomenon of the chapeau among black women in great detail.

There’s music, there’s laughter, and there are many memories.

It’s called Crowns. It’s a musical by Regina Taylor that was adapted from a book of the same name. It traces the history of hats among women in the black community.

Told through the eyes of a young girl sent to live with her grandmother, it’s an upbeat and humorous look at the grandmothers, mothers, wives, aunts and sisters who wear this fashion statement— especially in church.

Crowns is about black women and their church hats and also why we as women wear hats,” said Shirley Basfield-Dunlap, musical director.

“It just took me way back because it was about my momma because she was the hat lady of our church,” said Wendy Gibson, of Bowie.

Among the featured talent is Baltimore’s Singing Sensations Youth Choir.

“Because my kids are always singing in churches, learning the history of hats in churches,” said Dr. Hollie Mincey, Baltimore Singing Sensations Youth Choir.

The late Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height, chair of the National Council of Negro Women, was among those who set the bar for wearing crowns. Like many women, she wore a lot of hats–a metaphor for all women do.

“Women are the matriarch of not only the family but of the community,” Basfield-Dunlap said.

The Crowns celebrity hat auction is an online event where you can purchase stylish hats and help raise scholarship money for young people.

Click here for more information.

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