The holiday season is approaching faster than expected. With Christmas and Thanksgiving around the corner, finding a gift to show your thankfulness and love for friends and family is becoming a race against the clock. Many are shopping to fulfill the holiday wishes of their loved ones and looking for specific gifts that are unique and demonstrate that each gift was personally created and brought for them. For this reason, many gift-givers should begin to explore the African American Gullah brands that are known for their handmade, creative, and personalized gifts fit and specifically tailored for any low country Black Southern Belle.
History of Gullah culture
Gullah culture hails back to enslaved Africans who were brought to Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina through trading ports in Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC. The Gullah ancestors who were imported into the Georgia and South Carolina state, brought along their cerole and Gullah language, culture rich in African influences, traditions, recipes, beliefs, creativity and rituals. According to Gullah Heritage ,the Gullah people, who are sometimes considered or referred to as Geechee, living in this region are known for their ability to conserve and preserve Gullah culture and stand out against other African-American communities because of their dedication to historic value and ability to continue tradition. Gullah culture, which is prominent in the Sea Island of South Carolina, still provides the lowcountry experience and individuals
continues to weave baskets, produce clothing, create artwork, and jewelry that dates back to Gullah history and will serve as a perfect gift for this holiday season.
Sweetgrass Gullah Connections
Owned by the Wigfall family for over 300 years, Sweetgrass Gullah Connections is a Mt. Pleasant local Gullah brand that creates handmade baskets. Wove to perfection by Gullah family members, sweetgrass baskets made their way to the US during salvery and now has become a collector item for many in the Lowcountry area. These Sweetgrass baskets can be used for winnowing rice, gathering fruits, handling laundry, and serving as home decor for any Black Southern Belle. Sweetgrass Gullah Connections continues to make baskets and with six generations of basketweavers, Sweetgrass continues to produce the highest quality of work and tradition of the Wigfall Guallah family. Today, these baskets are authentic collector’s items and a great gift to give this holiday season.
Nakia M. Wigfall sewing a basket.
Henry Wigfall sewing a bread basket
Photo from: http://sweetgrassgullah.com/about_us
A fairly new brand established in 2018, Gullah Renaissance is a African American Gullah brand founded by Drea White who is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. This Geechee brand provides the beauty of the Lowcountry through detailed designer travel pouches, fleeces, bookbags, flip flops, mugs, and beach bags. As a brand with an abundance of Southern gifts, Gullah Renaissance, allows for the Gullah culture to be a part of you near and far. As an organization who gives a portion of their proceeds to a scholarship(s) for a Charleston/Dorchester County student, Gullah Renaissance continues to help the community of Charleston while providing shoppers with stylish and usable art, beauty, elegance & traditions of the Gullah culture.
Ngome Lifestyle, is a Afropolitan boutique which sells head wraps, clothing, and jewelry. Known as one of the best fashion stores in Beaufort, SC, Ngome Lifestyle is effective for taking pride in sourcing their accessories and fabrics from Africa to produce exclusive clothing and head wraps for the Gullah community. The organization has an online site where gift givers can order their loved ones a Royal Wrap Box or Ngome Essential Wellness Box. Once any gift giver purchases their gift from Ngome Lifestyle a portion of the proceeds will be used to help the EPIC Foundation, Empowers People in our Community, which focuses on sustainable housing, personal and community development, and disability advocacy.
Sonja Griffin Evans Jewelry
Finding exquisite jewelry mixed with fine art is hard to come by, however Sonja Griffin Evans provides the two as eloquent as possible. As a cultural artist raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, Sonja Griffin Evans, combines her creativity with silver pendants and necklaces. With each jewelry piece hand painted in the Heart of the Lowcountry Collection, Sonja Evans provides intricate one of a kind gifts for all.
These four African American Gullah brands are sure to be a hit this holiday season. With their unique, rare, and cultural flare, these gifts are going to be a hit with all the Southern Belles or individuals passionate and interested in the Gullah culture.16