Friday, April 4, 2014

History And Information Of Black Culture: The Afro

Afro or the shortened word Fro has been a dominate and the most recognized symbol of black culture over the years. some say the Afro represent freedom, to be free of the commercialization of what the media shows us on TV saying that straight or short hair is more acceptable in the Caucasian based world. others say that the Afro shows power, and the rest say it just a fashion statement of just a hair style. i don't know about that, there must be more to the story than just a hair style, if you are like me you want to know the history of things how thing work, how thing where made and where did they come from. that's why i wanted to write this post, not to just peek my interest but peak other people interest in one of the most iconic hair styles i think in history

What Is A Afro
well the dictionary meaning of Afro is a thick hairstyle with very tight curls that sticks out all around the head, like the natural hair of some black people.

 (A more detailed definition) is a hairstyle worn naturally by people with lengthy kinky hair texture or specifically styled in such a fashion by individuals with naturally curly or straight hair. The hairstyle is created by combing the hair away from the scalp, allowing the hair to extend out from the head in a large, rounded shape, much like a halo, cloud or ball

 During the history of slavery in the United States, most black African-Americans styled their hair in an attempt to mimic the styles of the predominantly white society in which they lived. Afro-textured hair, characterized by its tight kinks, has been described as being kinky, coarse, cottony, nappy, or woolly. These characteristics represented the antithesis of the European American standard of beauty, and led to a negative view of kinky hair. As a result, the practice of straightening gained popularity among black African-Americans.

The process of straightening the hair often involved applying caustic substances, such as relaxers containing lye, which needed to be applied by an experienced hairstylist so as to avoid burning the scalp and ears. In the late 1890s/early 1900s, Madam C. J. Walker also popularized the use of the hot comb in the United States.Those who chose not to artificially treat their hair would often opt to style it into tight braids or cornrows.With all of these hairstyling methods, if done improperly, one ran the risk of damaging the hair shaft, sometimes resulting in hair loss.

The 1960-1970's
The effect of the African-American Civil Rights Movement brought a renewed sense of identity to the black African-American community which also resulted in a redefinition of personal style that included an appreciation of black beauty and aesthetics, as embodied by the "Black is beautiful" movement.This cultural movement marked a return to more natural, untreated hairstyles. The Afro became a powerful political symbol which reflected black pride and a rejection of notions of assimilation and integration—not unlike the long and untreated hair sported by the mainly White hippies.

To some black African-Americans, the Afro also represented a reconstitutive link to West Africa and Central Africa.However, some critics have suggested that the Afro hairstyle is not particularly African: In his book Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies, cultural critic Kobena Mercer argued that the contemporary African society of the mid-20th century did not consider either hairstyle to denote any particular "Africanness"; conversely, some Africans felt that these styles signified "First-worldness".

Similarly, Brackette F. Williams stated in her book Stains on My Name, War in My Veins: Guyana and the Politics of Cultural Struggle that African nationalists were irritated by the Afro's adoption by African Americans as a symbol of their African heritage; they saw this trend as an example of Western arrogance

The Afro was adopted by both men and women and was a hairstyle that was easier to maintain by oneself, While the Afro was a much less invasive and time consuming hairstyle choice for many black African-Americans, some chose to achieve a bushier version of the Afro by backcombing or teasing the hair, a practice which can result in damage to the hair and scalp

without requiring frequent and sometimes costly visits to the hairstylist as was often experienced by people who chose to braid, straighten or relax their hair. Due to the kinky pattern prominent in Afro-textured hair, as it grows longer it has a tendency to extend outward from the head, resulting in a domelike hairstyle which is easily molded and sculpted into the desired shape.

In the mid-1960s, the Afro hairstyle began in a fairly tightly coiffed form, such as the hairstyle that became popular among members of the Black Panther Party. As the 1960s progressed towards the 1970s, popular hairstyles, both within and outside of the black African-American community, became longer and longer. As a result, the late 60s/early 70s saw an expansion in the overall size of Afros.Some of the entertainers and sociopolitical figures of the time known for wearing larger afros include political activist Angela Davis, actress Pam Grier, rock musician Jimi Hendrix, and the members of the musical groups The Jackson 5 and The Supremes

In contrast, the Afro's popularity among black African-Americans had already started to wane by the early 1970s; the introduction of the Afro to the mainstream and its adoption by people of non-African descent caused the Afro to lose its radical, political edge.The 1970s saw an increase in the popularity of braided hairstyles such as cornrows among both sexes of African-Americans.

Future Related Post: Hygiene Tips From A Nerdy Black Bear: Afro Care 

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