12 Celebrity Bantu Knot Hairstyles That Stunned

As seen on Rihanna and Cardi B.

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12 celebrity Bantu knot hairstyles that stunned.
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Whether it’s because you’ve got pool party plans or are anticipating harsh winter air, protective hairstyles are a good idea year-round — especially for coily hair types, which tend to be naturally drier. Arguably the most dazzling category of protective styles is Bantu knots, the artsy bun-like twists that date back to the Zulu Kingdom of South Africa. Whenever a celebrity graces the red carpet in a Bantu knots hairstyle, it feels like a particularly special nod to Black culture and African ancestry, whether it's Rihanna in a sleek version or Yara Shahidi in a dreadlocked look.

Bantu knots belong to an exclusive group of protective styles because they’re actually a two-in-one situation. You can wear them as a style all their own, or use them to create bouncy, heat-free curls. Perhaps most appealing is that the hairstyle is a beauty DIYers dream. Full disclosure: It’s not quite as simple as a high ponytail. So it may take a few (or more) times to get the hang of Bantu knots, but with patience, the right products, and a good YouTube tutorial, you can nail the look sans salon.

For inspiration, keep scrolling for the most memorable times your fave celebrities rocked eye-catching Bantu knots, each look more swoon-worthy than the next.


Cardi B’s Half-Up Half-Down Hairstyle

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The “Up” rapper rocked an early 2000s-era half-up, half-down hairstyle with side-swept bangs, Bantu knots, and a Barbiecore flip to a 2019 Hustlers event in Los Angeles.


Rapsody’s Simple Bantu Knots

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Rapper Rapsody stunned in classic Bantu knots, soft glam makeup, and thick hoop earrings at a Black Girls Rock! event in 2019.


Yara Shahidi’s Dreadlock Bantu Knots

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Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi showed up at the Thom Browne show during Paris Fashion Week in 2020 rocking dreads twisted into perfectly undone Bantu knots.


Amandla Stenberg’s Fluffy Bantu Knots

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In the ultimate monochromatic look, The Hunger Games actor Amandla Stenberg wore bold blue eyeshadow and a matching ‘fit along with light-as-air Bantu knots to a press party during the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018.


Joan Smalls’ Loose Bantu Knots

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For a super chic take on water waves, supermodel Joan Smalls wore loosely twisted Bantu knots in a half-updo at a Karl Lagerfeld Paris launch event in New York City in 2016.


Issa Rae’s Multiple Bantu Knots

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Issa Rae twisted her natural hair into Bantu knots for the 2022 American Black Film Festival in Miami Beach in 2022.


Rihanna’s Slick Bantu Knots

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Beauty chameleon Rihanna rocked super neat Bantu knots and emerald green lipstick to accept the Best Fan Army award in 2014 at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles.


Kiki Layne’s Stylish Bantu Knots

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Need proof that neon eyeliner can be worn with Bantu knots? Just look at If Beale Street Could Talk star Kiki Layne.


Logan Browning’s Bantu Knots Mohawk

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You could wear your Bantu knots in a mohawk style à la Logan Browning, who dressed up the ‘do with a gorgeous pink gown.


Marsai Martin’s Bantu Knot Crown

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Black-ish star Marsai Martin wore a pretty crown of Bantu knots and blown-out hair to the 11th annual Shorty Awards in 2019.


Teyana Taylor’s ’90s Style

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Teyana Taylor brought full-on ’90s vibes to the grand opening of her Junie Bee Nail Salon in New York City with Bantu knots, face-framing tendrils, and bamboo earrings.


Tika Sumpter’s Braided Knots

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Take inspo from Tika Sumpter and try braided Bantu knots for a chic updo that’ll turn heads.

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