Musings: Why do today’s Naturals say no to the afro?

For the past few years black women have been taking back their natural hair. So where does the traditional afro fit in now? If you look at most natural hair blogs or websites, or in salons focusing on natural hair, it would seem the traditional afro does not fit in to this natural movement at all.

Cornrows, twists, braids. They are all okay.

But the afro of Nina Simone and Angela Davis. Not so much it seems.

First, let’s be clear. As a curly girl, I do indeed sport the “curly fro.” That my friend is a curly-haired person’s rendition of the afro. My hair does not stick straight up as a real afro would. No, my fro is a floppy one. It is not rounded. It will not hold the shape. It does not look like a dark, black pillow encasing my mind, holding my body together. It is too fine, there will inevitably be holes in it.

Angela Davis and her afro
Angela Davis and her afro

I used to long for woolier hair. It escapes me why those with it insist on twisting it out, braiding it up, and hiding it under silky weaves.

Sure even those who had afros back in the day did all of the above sometimes, but they also let their afros out every now and then and did so proudly.

The real question is if the afro is a little too real and natural for some women. I would hope not, but all signs point to “yes,” and that is truly sad. What was once a symbol of black power and free thought is now an unwanted stranger among its own people. People claiming they love their natural hair.

Now ain’t that some stuff.

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