Pilar Audain-Reed wrapping a head on Gele Day - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

Pilar Audain-Reed wrapping a head on Gele Day – Photo Credit: Eddy “Precise” Lamarre

Gele Day is a celebration when woman throughout Chicago come together to empower each other, reconnect with the earth, stand in unity and wrap their heads with beautiful adornments. The history of the gele itself is one that is two-sided in regards to its interpretations. Gele is a Yoruba word for head wrap. Head wrapping is something that is extremely prevalent in many countries in Africa. It is often used to convey spirituality, prosperity and beauty. In contrast, in America, during slavery “hair wrapping” was adopted as a tool to cover the enslaved Black woman’s hair, thus concealing her perceived beauty and femininity in contrast to White women. However, following slavery, just as many things that were meant to cause shame and embarrassment, Black women embraced the practice of wearing the gele and reclaimed the meaning. The gele represents royalty, spirituality and beauty.

Black women and their families have been gathering for the past five years to celebrate themselves and to tap into their spirituality in a way that will make our world better and provide a sense of pride. The celebration is an opportunity for women to come together, reenergize and release feelings of negativity. Children play, people dance, learn from each other, pray and meditate. All of this culminates to a walk to the shore of Lake Michigan, where the energy is released into the water as a form of spiritual cleansing. We asked Essence McDowell, who was attending her first Gele Day, what her initial thoughts were and what she found once she experienced it firsthand. “My initial thoughts were beautiful African women coming together to look beautiful and celebrate each other, but I had no idea how deeply spiritual and restorative it was going to be. It’s so powerful to see us come together to have such a powerful message for ourselves and our community.” she said.

Take a look at a few pics below.

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Pilar Audain-Reed - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Tasleem Jamila and Stephstaa - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Tequila Shabazz, Portia Adoja and Keinika Carlton - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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LyghtSkin and Mark Vaughn - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Stephstaa - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Deana Dean - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Tasleem Jamila, Ugo-Chi, Stephstaa, Afrika Porter - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Sandria Washington and Pilar Audain-Reed - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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K Love - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Kamaria Sunshine - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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K Love - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Pilar Audain-Reed, Tequila Shabazz, K Love, Deana Dean, Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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K Love and her Princesses - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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LyshtSkin and M'reld - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Kamaria Sunshine and Sandria Washington - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Pilar Audain-Reed wrapping a head on Gele Day - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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The Princesses - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Kim and Deana Dean - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Ugo-Chi - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Pilar Audain-Reed leading the women to the shore of Lake Michigan - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Robin Anderson - Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

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Sisters in formation after the walk to the lake shore - Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

Eddy Lamarre aka Precise is a father, emcee, motivational speaker, blogger and performing artist. Follow his blog at precisemuzic.com

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    AWESOME!! Work Precise 🙂

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