The Afro often abbreviated to the ‘fro is derived from the term “African-American”. The hairstyle became prominent during the Civil Rights Movement and more specifically, through the “Black is beautiful” movement in the mid-twentieth century.
For the African American community, wearing an afro in the late 1960s and early 1970s represented a celebration of the black beauty and a rejection of the Eurocentric beauty norms.
Though, besides the Civil Right Movement, the nomads of East Africa’s Somalia had a custom of wearing their hair in variable sizes of bushes smoothed out with or without butter depending on their age and marital status.
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During the 1960s, the Afro the hairstyle began in a relatively tightly coiffed form referred to by the black press as “close-cropped.” It was a hairstyle worn by a small number of young black female dancers and jazz singers as an expression of their racial pride. Progressively, the close-cropped style developed into a large round shape worn by both male and female African Americans.
The hairstyle became very popular in the 1960s and early 1970s and had seen some resurgence in the 1990s and the 2000s.
The afro style is performed on natural, textured, kinky type hair. The hairstyle can also be done on other hair types using creams, gels or other solidifying hair products to hold the hair. The style is achieved by lifting the black hair outward, often with a wide-toothed comb called the Afro pick or fro comb.
The afro comb digs down to the scalp and allows the hair roots to be stretched straight. For a more manageable process, the hair can be divided into sections.
Though there are several types of afro, in a traditional afro style, the hair is extended out from the head in variable size, round shape, like a ball or cloud.