Why I Can’t Quit You, Hoops


All the girls in the Harlem tenement building I grew up in wore a pair. My older sister and I had rail-thin large ones. Sometimes I would take them off and wear them as bracelets. We slept in them, our hoop earrings.

I fell in love with hoops after seeing the fly ladies, like Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige, in music videos wearing them. My best friend’s sister, Priscilla, who lived a few floors below me, wore a huge pair with her name inscribed inside their curves in the prettiest cursive. Her hoops dangled as she twirled her fingers on the curly cord of the phone. In my mind, she was the coolest.

When we rolled our necks they moved with the same attitudes we expressed. They bounced up and down when we played double dutch near our stoop. Gold hoops — thick, wide, bamboo-style, small or thin — were an extension of our sass, our style and us.

Like many Latinas, my mother took my sister and me to get our ears pierced when we were newborns. She proudly brought us to the local pharmacy on 137th Street and Broadway for the quick procedure, and once the holes healed she placed tiny hoops in them.

Source: The New York Times