Kennedie King recalls when she got her first durag. At about 6 or 7 years old, her mom picked her up from school, and they drove to the beauty supply store. At the suggestion of a hairdresser, Kennedie’s mom brought her to the beauty supply store to purchase her first durag, ensuring that her child’s hair would be laid. This durag would stay with Kennedie all the way through high school, laying edges left and right.
While Kennedie was experimenting with different colored durags and practicing the “Crank That” dance with her cousins in her nook of the world, Tiffany Ike was wearing matching durags with her older sister.
Upon being asked when she started wearing durags, Tiffany responded, “When is always, just the memory of it makes me happy.”
Tiffany Ike and Kennedie King’s experiences with the durag eventually led to their collaboration on a short series titled “Draping Series”. The two serve as co-creators to the seven-episode short film series examining the complexity of Black femme identities and the durag as a cultural artifact.
Tiffany and Kennedie met at UW-Madison as First Wave Scholars. Their friendship and similar interests in film resulted in them becoming accountability partners for writing scripts for their respective classes last semester. Due to Kennedie being abroad in Belgium, these conversations were held over regularly scheduled facetime calls in which the two would attempt to work on their scripts. During one of these calls, the “Draping Series” was born.
“One day when she called, I was wearing a durag and she was like, ‘Oh my gosh, are you wearing a durag?’ And I was like yeah, I love durags. And she was like, ‘I used to wear durags all the time,’” said King.
The two quickly bonded over the commonality, and quickly considered doing a photoshoot with durags and socks. The idea eventually evolved in to the seven-episode series.
“The way black woman keep their hair laid is definitely with a durag, bandana or things like that, and that was definitely a big part of my childhood,” said Ike. “We talked about the idea and it was fun. Then, we were like yeah want to do it together? And we were like yeah, and then we were like let’s make a google doc, how all things start!”
One of the main objectives of the project is to ensure that black women feel seen in at least a small way. The significance of the durag is often times only tied to black men and hyper-masculinity in black culture. “As filmmakers we’re trying to intervene on these very rigid stereotypical ways in which black women have been depicted in films prior to these projects,” said King.
The purpose of the piece is just as important as the artistry behind the filming of it. The two have selected different genres and forms of cinematography to be exemplified throughout the series. “When we pick those, it was either really purposeful or oooh, I want to see what this would look like in this type of story world,” said Ike.
The co-creators plan to start shooting with their team soon. Their production crew consists of mostly woman identified, black young creatives. While there is no definite end date set for the project, they hope to have the entire series completed by the end of 2018. Three of the seven episodes must be finished by the end of April for a joint independent study that they are both participating in.
They hope to submit the series to different festivals, ranging from small ones to the Sundance film festival with the intent of expanding the reach as much as possible on other platforms as well.
Tiffany and Kennedie wanted to give a shout-out to their production team:
Clare Ostroski – Producation Assistant
Isha Camara – Creative Intern
Azuree Dodson – Set Designer
Adjua Nsoroma – Costume Designer
Duke Virginia – Cinematographer
Julia Levine – Photographer
For updates on the “Draping Series”:
Instagram – @drapingseries
Facebook – @drapingseries
Twitter – @drapingseries
To follow the co-creators: