Afro – the up side

First published August 2011

One of the inspirations for going natural was to be able to rock a massive 4-inch afro. In fact, my hair goal was to emulate a picture of my mother in the 1970s, where she had a lovely perfectly coiffed afro. With my new insight, I now know that it was probably blow-dried and was not as long as it looks in the picture. In fact, my own hair is now probably a lot longer.

NEWSFLASH: I drafted the above paragraph last night and before posting this, I decided to call up my Mum and double check how they used to do their hair back then. What she told me was interesting. This topic will be revisited the next time my Mum comes to visit (in about three weeks). We agreed that we need a little chat about hair techniques back in the 70s and how they managed their hair without relaxing it and still had really long hair while using petroleum based products. And how they managed perfectly coiffed Afros without going to the barber shop or blow-drying it.

Putting my little digression aside, I invite you to revisit a post I did in April (four months ago), regarding what I have learned about Afros.

This is my attempt at the pensive look

One of the most interesting things that I have learned over the last one year is that the Afro is NOT a traditional African hairstyle but is in fact a creation of the 20th Century black consciousness movement which saw us embrace the “Black and Proud” message and go all out to reject the western-inspired concept of straightening hair. The Afro was about as un-straight as you could get. Decades later, all over the world, we still associate black and African pride with the Afro.

Whatever the case, even though the afro is NOT actually a traditional African hairstyle, it is one of the coolest, simply because it makes you stand out as it screams “look at me”. In one of my earlier posts, I said that going natural requires attitude. I can honestly say that my confidence has increased tremendously since I started wearing my own hair, without a weave or extension. You cannot help but feel elevated. I love to answer, “yes, it’s my hair”. As in, I grew it out of my head, I didn’t buy it.

The other thing about natural hair (beginning from the BC and into TWA) is that as a woman, you have very little else to go on except your face. Longer hair tends to add that feminine look, so without it, you must amplify everything else that you have. Some opt for make-up or accessories, but a big part of everything else is your attitude.


3 responses to “Afro – the up side

  1. I love your blog its simple and well natural…gets to the point. I am basically nearing my 1st year as a natural after big chopping, its been a rewarding and frustrating journey..!hope to see you around!


  2. am really inspired…! i cut my hair to about 3inches due to excess damage n spliting ( blow drying n flat ironing frequwently), its de only way i knew of keeping my hair neat n easy to handle. but now i started a healthy natural hair journey. being zambian am really inspired….


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