A is for Afro: A - Z of Natural Hair
A is for Afro.
Afro textured hair is synonymous with those from an African ancestry. The hair cells of those with Afro hair texture is oval and the hair stands tend to grow in a curl, kink or coil shape. Afro hair grows up and the longer it gets it starts to hang.
Due to the nature of Afro textured hair, it is susceptible to dryness. Hair produces a natural oil known as a sebum. Sebum helps moisturise the hair strand. The straighter the hair strand the easier it is for sebum to travel down the hair. The kinky, coily or curly make up of Afro texture hair means it is difficult for the sebum to travel down the strand. Therefore, it is advised that those with Afro texture hair manually apply moisture to their locs. In the natural hair community this is known as moisturising and sealing. This process involves adding moisture to your hair (hair lotion or water) then sealing in the moisture with a heavier product (a butter or an oil).
Unlike other hair types, Afro hair does not just revolve around hair care or styling but its strands hold cultural, social and political connotations.
1960 - 1970s was a period where black men and women across the global began to proudly wear the hair God had given them. The Afro became a beckon of anti white supremacy, anti corruption and herald to others with Afro textured strands to embrace their natural self their true self.
This period could be seen as the first natural hair movement.
In anquity afro textures had been embraced but it was the influence of the west which saw many grow to dislike their kinky, coily strands.
“Do not remove the kinks from your hair - remove them from your brain.”- Marcus Garvey
Hair relaxer are to some extent an expression of dislike for afro textured hair. In recent years, those who choose to end their natural hair journey have expressed, relaxers helps with manageability. Though there may be some truth to this. The creation of hair relaxers was to encourage black women to aspire to a European look.
Rather than assimilate to a more Eurocentric beauty standard, black women around the world took an unapologetic stand and challenged the beauty standard commissioned by the west and created their own.
The natural hair movement is more than just sporting an Afro, but is an expression of confidence, self awareness and liberty.
What are your thoughts? Do you see hair as just hair.