Pop Smoke braids

The Rise of Pop Smoke Braids: A Cultural Phenomenon

In recent years, the term “Pop Smoke braids” has surged in popularity, transcending its origins to become a significant cultural and fashion statement. This hairstyle, characterized by distinctive plaits or twists, owes its name to the late rapper Pop Smoke, who was not only known for his groundbreaking music but also for his unique sense of style, particularly his iconic braids. This article delves into the origins, significance, and impact of Pop Smoke braids, exploring how this hairstyle has become synonymous with a broader cultural movement and a tribute to the artist’s enduring legacy.

Origins and Inspiration

The journey of Pop Smoke braids began with Bashar Barakah Jackson, known professionally as Pop Smoke, who emerged from the Brooklyn drill music scene. His music, characterized by its gritty lyrics and distinctive beats, mirrored his personal style: bold, unapologetic, and deeply rooted in his identity. The braids, which quickly became his signature look, drew inspiration from traditional African hairstyles, symbolizing a connection to heritage and cultural identity.

Pop Smoke’s choice of hairstyle was not merely a fashion statement but a nod to the rich history of African and African American hair culture. Braiding, in many African societies, served as a means of communication, conveying one’s tribe, marital status, wealth, power, and social position. By adopting a hairstyle so deeply embedded in cultural significance, Pop Smoke inadvertently championed a form of cultural expression that resonated with many, particularly within the African American community.

Cultural Significance and Identity

The popularity of Pop Smoke braids extends beyond mere aesthetics, touching on deeper themes of cultural identity and self-expression. For many of his fans and followers, adopting this hairstyle is a way to pay homage to the artist, keeping his spirit and legacy alive. However, it also serves as a form of connection to a broader cultural heritage, celebrating the beauty, versatility, and history of black hair.

In a society where African American hair has been subjected to scrutiny and discrimination, the embrace of Pop Smoke braids represents a reclaiming of cultural pride and an assertion of identity. It’s a statement that challenges conventional beauty standards and champions the idea that black hair is not only beautiful but also an integral part of cultural identity. This hairstyle, therefore, transcends fashion, becoming a symbol of resistance, empowerment, and solidarity within the community.

Fashion and Style Influence

Pop Smoke’s impact on fashion and style extends beyond his music, with his braids inspiring a wave of trends in the beauty and fashion industry. The hairstyle’s distinct look—thick, woolly twists often adorned with accessories like beads and rings—has become a staple in salons and among stylists, showcasing the adaptability and creativity inherent in black hair culture.

Celebrities, influencers, and fans alike have been spotted sporting Pop Smoke braids, each adding their personal twist to the style, thus contributing to its evolving nature. This widespread adoption speaks to the hairstyle’s versatility, appealing to a broad demographic and fitting various occasions, from casual outings to formal events. The fashion world’s embrace of Pop Smoke braids underscores a broader trend towards inclusivity and the celebration of diverse beauty standards, highlighting the role of cultural icons like Pop Smoke in shaping contemporary fashion narratives.

The Legacy of Pop Smoke

Pop Smoke’s untimely death in February 2020 left a void in the music industry and among his fans worldwide. However, his influence lives on, not only through his music but also through the cultural symbols he championed, like his braids. The enduring popularity of Pop Smoke braids is a testament to the artist’s lasting impact, serving as a visual reminder of his contributions to music, fashion, and cultural discourse.

The hairstyle, much like his music, tells a story of resilience, creativity, and pride. It carries with it the spirit of Pop Smoke, embodying the energy, charisma, and boldness that he was known for. In this way, Pop Smoke braids are more than just a fashion choice; they are a homage to the artist’s legacy, a symbol of cultural pride, and a source of inspiration for many to embrace their identity and heritage confidently.

The Future of Pop Smoke Braids

As we look to the future, the popularity of Pop Smoke braids shows no signs of waning. Instead, it continues to evolve, with new variations and styles emerging, each reflecting the dynamic nature of cultural and fashion trends. This hairstyle’s adaptability ensures its relevance in an ever-changing fashion landscape, while its deep cultural roots provide it with a timeless quality.

The ongoing popularity of Pop Smoke braids also points to a broader movement towards the celebration of natural and culturally significant hairstyles, challenging outdated norms and embracing a more inclusive definition of beauty. As this trend continues, it will undoubtedly pave the way for future generations to explore and express their cultural heritage and individual identities through their hair, inspired by the legacy of icons like Pop Smoke.


In conclusion, Pop Smoke braids represent much more than a hairstyle; they are a cultural symbol, a fashion statement, and a tribute to an artist who left an indelible mark on the world. Through these braids, fans and admirers connect with Pop Smoke’s legacy, celebrating the richness of African American culture and the beauty of black hair. As this hairstyle continues to be embraced and reinvented, it stands as a testament to the enduring influence of Pop Smoke and the powerful ways in which style and culture intertwine to create lasting symbols of identity and heritage.

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