Feed-in braids are similar to cornrows. Cornrows were originally worn by indigenous people in Africa as an indicator of social status. Enslaved Africans were forced to have their heads shaved but cornrows reappeared as their hair grew back and cornrowing was used to keep hair neat.
Cornrows also became a symbol of resistance during the Black power movement and are now a popular protective style for Black people with both natural and permed hair.
Feed-in braids are essentially cornrows. They get their name from the method of "feeding in" increasingly thick pieces of hair as the cornrow is created. A starter braid is created with the client's natural hair and then synthetic braiding hair is added to create a long cornrow that still looks natural. Feed in braids are becoming an increasingly popular cornrow style because of their length and natural appearance.