Zoe Saldana visits Churchill Downs for the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby.
Black women have long held their hats in high regard, especially when wearing them to church. So in celebration of Easter Sunday this weekend, we take a look at celebs and sisters just like you rocking the best hats around.
Soul diva Aretha Franklin bow-dazzled us in this bespoke crown from Mr. Song Millinery in Detroit when she sang at the inauguration of President Obama on January 21.
Dwyane Wade attends the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2008 in Louisville, Kentucky.
NeNe Leakes of Bravo’s hit reality series “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” sports a fierce cream crown with black trim at her first annual Big Hat Brunch to benefit victims of domestic violence. Held in the Peach State, Leakes’s affair has gained national attention when the well-attended brunch appeared in an episode of “RHOA” last season.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell is effortlessly chic in a sleek oversized fedora.
For Sister Deborah Tolbert of
Gospel Water Branch Church in
Augusta, Georgia, this shining glory runs deep.
“This hat represents transition. I’d just turned 50 years old and was in the process of relocating to a new home after the death of my mother.”
Church is not the only place we like to showcase our millinery collections. The Kentucky Derby has long been a “who’s who” of elite sisters who want to strut their stuff in fabulous crowns.
The fabulous attorney turned television personality Star Jones strikes a pose and gives a warm smile in a wide chartreuse hat with floral trim at the Kentucky Derby.
R&B starlet Kelly Rowland rocks a fly cream hat with a floral-inspired design at the Kentucky Derby.
Actress Gabrielle Union is sassy and stylish in this black topper at the 2008 Kentucky Derby. The hand on the hip is not for sale.
Often, vibrant and joyous traditions conjure up great memories.
Melody Waller of Chicago remembers how her crowns of glory made her feel over the years. “Easter is always a special time for us as a family,” Waller notes. “I always had ‘Easter clothes’ and often those clothes included a hat and even gloves!”
Scene stealer Lynn Whitfield is sophisticated and elegant in a LBD (little black dress) and BBH (big black hat) at the 2008 Kentucky Derby.
Funny lady Niecy Nash turns heads in this show-stopping feathered crown at the 2007 Kentucky Derby.
Shirley Henderson-Bernard, 48, of Christ Community Evangelistic Church in Willingboro, New Jersey, tells us why she loves her crown.
“What makes my hat so special is the fact that it was my first school textile project. I call it my wild thing, “Flaming Desire.”
Pop princess Beyoncé is picture-perfect in a navy floppy hat.
“Everybody Hates Chris” star Tichina Arnold refuses to be ignored in this black spiral number with velvet trim! She rocked this unique crown at the Kentucky Derby in 2008.
Singer Ashanti shows off a bit of her flower power at the Kentucky Derby. She stands outside of the pack with this tropical island-inspired ensemble.
Edna Sherer (in the orange), 51, of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, notes, “Hats to me reveal who you are and where you are in your spiritual walk. They make me feel like the queen that I know I am!”
Pro-tennis star Serena Williams tickles our fancy in this sleek and feathered hat worn to a recent Kentucky Derby. She pairs a versatile piece with a pair of eye-popping shades.
Patricia Dishman of Lexington, Kentucky, isn’t afraid to take the spotlight.
“I love big, wild, and over-the-top hats,” she notes. “You have to be confident to walk out with such a noisemaker.”
Soulful crooner Erykah Badu is known for her earthy style and she rocked it hard at the Kentucky Derby. We’re diggin’ her funky farm girl look.
The 2000 coffeetable book “Crowns” (Random House) by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry celebrates the unique relationship between Black women and their hats. Photographer Michael Cunningham beautifully captures the self-expressions of sisters of all ages—from young fly women to mature yet stylish grandmothers. Award-winning journalist Craig Marberry provides an intimate look at us and our convergence of faith and fashion that keeps the Sabbath both holy and glamorous.
Are you planning to wear a big, stylish hat to church this Sunday? Do you have a favorite memory of your mother or granny wearing hats? Please share your comments with us below.