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Why Rihanna ‘Immediately’ Wanted Her Sons With ASAP Rocky to Wear Braids 

Rihanna on Her Sons Wearing Braids
Rihanna Daniele Venturelli/WireImage/Getty Images

For Rihanna, braids aren’t just a trendy hairstyle.

The 36-year-old — who favors the look in the form of cornrows, Fulani braids, goddess braids, knotless braids and Senegalese twists — opened up about the cultural significance of the coiffure and why she and partner ASAP Rocky are passing on their love of the ‘do to their sons, RZA and Riot Rose

“This is a form of protection of our roots, and a tradition left by our ancestors. … [It] makes us realize where we’ve come from,” Rihanna told Vogue China in her April cover story. 

Rihanna was born in Saint Michael, Barbados, and braids are popular among Black American, African and Caribbean cultures. They are commonly referred to as a protective style as braids keep the wearer’s natural hair safe from weather-related damage. In early African communities, braids were used to communicate social status, age and marital status within tribes.

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In the 1800s in the U.S., slaves would often use braids to communicate escape routes to freedom. 

Rihanna on Her Sons Wearing Braids
Rihanna and ASAP Rocky Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

“This is our lost history,” Rihanna told Vogue China. “I immediately wanted my children to have their hair braided. … It’s something in our blood.”

When Rihanna shared the first photos of baby Riot following his birth in August 2023, RZA — who was born in May 2022 — could be seen sporting tiny cornrows like Rocky, 35. Little RZA was, of course, too young for the look but was cool as ever in a pink durag. In the months that followed, RZA has continued to rock the style — sometimes complemented by hair clips, a go-to accessory for his dad.

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Rihanna and Rocky have been enjoying life as parents, with the “Praise the Lord” crooner telling Complex in November 2023 that the boys are their “best creation so far.” 

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“If me and my lady was to collab what could we team up and just, like, just f—king smash and go crazy on? I think we do a real great job at collaborating making children,” Rocky told the news outlet. 

He continued, “Nothing is better than [RZA and Riot] out there. I mean, we had a third designer come and help, a ghost designer named God, [who] shaped everything. And we had these beautiful angels, so that’s the best collaboration.”

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