Crowns Character Profiles
A seventeen-year-old girl at a crossroads in her life. She is mourning the death of her brother, Teddy, and has been sent from her home in Chicago to South Carolina to live with her Christian grandmother. Not afraid to go against the grain, she speaks up for what she believes is right, though she still has much about life to learn. Her character is inspired by the Yoruba god Ogun, orisha of war and iron. This orisha is associated with the colors green and red.
On my first day, I was walking through the hallway and I had to pass what felt like the whole school laughing at me. I can’t remember what I had on, but it was one of my usual unique outfits. I’m stylin like Nikki, Rhi-Rhi- Beyonce- With a slice of Massai- African Warrior princess on the side.
Mother Elsie Shaw is Yolanda’s grandmother and the matriarch of the family. A strong woman who has worked hard all of her life, she once butted heads with Yolanda’s mother and now seeks to instruct her granddaughter on the importance of traditions, faith, and hats. Mother Shaw is steadfast in her beliefs and definitely does not suffer fools—including her own husband of forty-seven years, who learns to tolerate her hard-earned and sizeable hat collection. Inspired by the Yoruba god Obatala, orisha of wisdom and creativity and the sculptor of humankind. This orisha is associated with the color white.
I may be a little rusty at this raising up a child thing— never thought I'd ever have to again—But I think we can work it out. Though there’s got to be some rules.
A preacher’s wife and lover of hats. She believes that "praising the Lord" is the most important thing on earth and that a proper lady dresses modestly for Him. Inspired by the Yoruba god Shango, orisha of fire. This orisha is associated with the colors red and white.
I wear hats every Sunday because I want to set an example. As the first lady of the church, if I came in there in dresses with splits all the way up my leg, then I couldn’t ever tell the young women that this or that is not appropriate. And if they sit on the front row, I tell the nurse to go put a scarf over their legs. I mean, my husband’s up there trying to preach and some woman’s sitting on the front row with the gates of hell wide open.
A licensed funeral director and a firm believer in “hattitude,” the attitude one must possess in order to wear a hat well. She did not become interested in hats until she found her vocation, and now is never seen without a hat in church. Inspired by the Yoruba god Oya, orisha of storms. This orisha is associated with the color purple.
When I look at myself in a hat, I see my mother. Mama would always say, “If you want to look good when you get old, don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t run around.” I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and I don’t run around. Not to say that I haven’t done those things, but I’ve changed- I don’t do them anymore. Something else Mama would always tell me is, “Put something on your head. It will protect you.”
Granddaughter of a “Hat Queen,” that is, a woman who owns more than a hundred hats. She admired her grandmother’s hats as a child, and hopes to one day pass down the Hat Queen tradition and the family history that goes with it. She sees Sunday service as not only a time of faith, but also of fashion—a place to worship and show off your style. Inspired by the Yoruba god Oshun, orisha of rivers and water. This orisha is associated with the colors gold and yellow.
Grandma Em owned 140 hats. Wore them religiously. Fur hats, velvet hats, straw hats. You name it. I liked them all.
A woman who tells it like it is. She understands the flirtatious powers of a good hat and its value. She once worked in cosmetics for a department store which is where she procured her most prized possession—a beautiful, emerald green hat made of feathers. Inspired by the Yoruba god Yemaya, orisha of seas. This orisha is associated with the color blue.
Some women at church have asked to borrow this hat. But I’d lend my children before I’d lend my hat. My children know their way home. My hat might not.
Represents all of the men in the women’s lives. Inspired by the Yoruba god Elegba, orisha of crossroads. This orisha is associated with the colors red and black.