What Are African Waist Beads & Why Do Women Wear Waist Beads? Past/Present Day


August 10, 2021

Written By: Jamela JJ

Hello Friends,

Welcome to my page! If you are on my page, that means at some point you have contacted me through various outlets whether that may be social media, face to face, or at one of my pop-up shops. Either way, I am grateful, welcome! I was inspired to write this blog post in effort to connect you all. Before I share, my perspective of why women wear African waist beads, I must first start by defining waist beads. What are waist beads? Waist Beads is a beaded body jewelry that women from Africa wore for centuries. People of various age ranges wore waist beads for different reasons. Waist beads are a part of the ancient African traditions and are still utilized until this day. Many people say that waist beads originated in Egypt and became popular in the west African culture. Several African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Cameroon, and many more wear various types of beading styles according to their tribe. The reason for wearing these beautiful body jewelries varies according to the women’s country of origin, tribe, and beliefs. As a native of Ghana, based in the United States, I have observed woman wear waist beads for the following reasons:

  1. Weight Management – In the past and present, woman of African descent would wear their waist beads to track their weight loss progress. As woman begin to lose weight, the beads would gradually fall from their stomach to their waist until it can no longer fit. In the past, weight scales were not easily accessible, so this was a creative way to assess one’s body weight. Although we have weight scales today, many women still choose to wear their beads to motivate their weigh loss journey as it is a personal journey to every woman. Every woman has a story and should embrace and celebrate their journey. We are here for friends; you are not alone. We are all about encouraging woman to be their best self.
  2. Fashion Accessories – Nowadays, waist beads have become popular in the western world and are worn by women of all nationalities and cultures. They now have many fashionable waist beads that are popular in Africa and the rest of the world which are elegant, fun, and sexy. As fashion continues to evolve, so does the ancient waist bead. Giving us glam, elegance, and still a piece of culture. Waist beads will always make a statement when displayed in trendy outfits. Women have become very creative in displaying various ways to wear their waist beads. Accessories By JJ supports this cause as long as the wearer of the waist beads takes time to learn and understand the culture that it originates from. Check out “The Elegance of African Waist Bead Collection” to shop the various styles of waist beads that are made in Ghana, West Africa.
  3. Personal Prayer Intent – Although waist beads are beautiful and unique. Women also use their waist beads to set personal prayer intention. Manifestation is real and anything that you speak into the earth can become reality if you speak it into existence. My brand encourages women to set their own personal prayer intent on their waist beads to achieve the life goals of your desire. Our brand just wants you to be culturally aware while wearing our jewelry because growth in life is very important and can not be achieved with out knowledge. The various tribes of Africa also set personal intentions on their waist beads according to their tribe, religion, beliefs, and spirituality. Each of our waist beads manifest different intention based on inspiration of the chakras, life goals, and building self-efficacy.
  4. Mothers & Children – As I spoke to the elders of my tribal community, it was shared with me that in the past, women use to utilize their children’s waist beads to hold up a child’s cloth diaper. The current diaper and pull ups that are easily accessible to moms now was not always accessible in the past. Mothers would hold up their children’s cloth diaper with the waist bead to secure the fit and wash and change the diaper once a child released his/her bowel movements. Yes, the waist beads were washed as well as you can bath with your waist beads to ensure cleanliness. Women also wear waist beads to manifest safe pregnancy in some African cultures.
  5. Children & Specialty Beads/Rite of Passage of Puberty – To share a brief description, in West Africa, some tribes put specialty beads on their children at the time of birth. These beads are usually solid in color and are placed on children for spiritual protection. As children grow, these beads are usually changed. When a child hits puberty particularly in some of the Ghanaian cultures, some tribes will have a rite of passage ceremony for the newly adolescence embracing and celebrating the life stage of childhood to adulthood.
  6. Form of Lingerie – In the West African culture, women also wear their waist beads as a form of intimate expression for their spouse. When waist beads are worn with this intent, they are not exposed to the public and are only displayed to their spouse or partner of choice during intimacy. Women in Africa also wear waist beads when they are entering a marriage expressing their exclusiveness to their husband. For decades, men have expressed their love for waist beads when worn by their spouse stating that it increases their confidence that their partner is happy to be in the relationship. It gives your partner or spouse a sense of exclusiveness.

In conclusion, I hope this gives my friends a sense a better sense of understanding of why women wear waist beads in the past and present day. Subscribe to our email list to get notification when new blogs are posted. I am ecstatic to share my journey with you through our products and various outlets. Please help a small business grow by sharing your comments on our blog and giving us a review of your experience.


With Love,

Jamela JJ



1 comment

Waist Beads have so many purposes and meanings. These meanings vary from person to person and culture to culture. I encourage everyone to learn more about waist beads and encourage their peers to as well.

Midian Johnson @midi.ian February 06, 2023

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