The Unrelenting Power of Hoop Earrings In Black and Latinx Communities

Like many Latina women, I got my ears pierced when I was a baby, and I took my daughter to get her ears pierced at six months old. Though many of my white peers didn’t agree with my decision (“how could you butcher your baby like that?”) I was simply following a tradition that had been passed down by the women in my family for generations. Latinas typically receive their first pair of small hoop earrings (or arracadas) at a young age from their mothers or grandmothers because, unlike studs, hoop earrings don’t have backings to them, making them less prone to falling out.

Ravine Spencer also adds that in Black communities, “hoop earrings are a right of passage and often symbolize growing up, stepping into your own identity, and celebrating your ethnicity.” She notes that Black and brown communities often lacked the resources to be able to pass down high-end heirlooms and inheritances in the way white communities could. Therefore, style and beauty practices, trends, and statement pieces became the cultural and family heirlooms of Black and brown families, that could be passed onto future generations an infinite number of times, and often with more sentimental value.