What is a durag on Survivor? Jamal, Jack bond over tense moment

Jeff Probst Buffs
Host Jeff Probst handing out new buffs during Survivor: Island of the Idols. Pic credit: Robert Voets/CBS

A durag is basically a scarf that can be worn on the head after a hair treatment process. On the show of Survivor, it is referred to as a buff, which most of the contestants wear during each successive season.

Those buffs get used for a variety of purposes, but the main purpose is to denote which tribe each cast member is a part of at a given point in time. The phrase “drop your buffs” is spoken by host Jeff Probst when it is time to shake things up and shuffle up who is on each tribe.

During the latest episode of the show, amid the end result of Jason Linden getting voted off Survivor at Tribal Council, there was a tense moment between Jamal Shipman and Jack Nichting.

While at the Lairo Tribe, Jack spoke to Jamal about food they were cooking over the fire. He said, “You should move it to the heat. Can you push it, Jamal, with your durag?” Jamal was immediately taken back by the reference, correcting Jack while also making several comments about it. That included stating that it was a buff.

In a one-on-one with the camera, Jack stated that he had made a joke, but it was quite clear that he was upset that he had overstepped and felt the need to apologize to Jamal (which he did later).

It led to a good heart-to-heart conversation between them, as Jamal explained the racial connotations he felt were exhibited by someone of privilege using that term when it was unnecessary.

The segment was certainly a good one for the show, especially because it showed a real human side of two people that are competing to win a $1 million cash prize on a reality competition.

It allowed them to step away from competing and actually have a real human conversation and connection that was equally timely for the audience at home.

Survivor airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS.

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No Brian Heidik Season 40!?!
No Brian Heidik Season 40!?!
2 years ago

That conversation between Jamal and Jack was cringy as hell. This was no celebration of a real human conversation: this was Jamal lecturing a feckless Jack for using the “wrong” synonym for “buff.” This destroyed the 4th wall and the escapism that makes this show work. Jack couldn’t have genuflected more – it was embarrassing to see someone become so overtly subservient based on the whims of another player. The amount of grandstanding by Jamal was, at the least, off-putting. I can’t wait for the inevitable incarnation of Richard Hatch, but as a woke warrior, to guilt more contestants into putty. Yea!