How All-White Parties Became A Staple In The Black Community

black women gathered together
Briona Lamback
September 19, 2023

It's the summertime soiree we all love with champagne and al-fresco dining. Breezy linen fabrics. Crisp new shoes. The dress code? It's all-white, and here's why our people can't get enough of them.

Across the world, white is associated with purity, but for our people, wearing all-white symbolizes something much bigger.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Diddy helped popularize all-white celebrations with his annual Hamptons event, where everyone from Rev. Al Sharpton to Aretha Franklin attended. However, many Black party promoters organized similar events in cities like Detroit

From "uninterrupted white" in Divine Nine sororities to church ushers, the dress code has historically signaled that we're part of a collective‒‒something bigger than ourselves.

Wearing all-white has long been a blend of sacred and secular for us. White clothing is significant in multiple religions across the diaspora, from baptisms to initiation periods. During chaotic times, some diasporic faith devotees wrap their heads in white cloth to help rid confusion. 

The color is also associated with the Yoruba deity, Obtatala, known as the king of the white cloth, beloved for his wisdom and compassionate leadership. There could be a spiritual protection component to white-wearing.

Creating space for joy has always been crucial to our survival and liberation. We must continue to make room for anything that brings us pleasure, love, and unity.

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