You (Yes, You) Can Have an Afro*

*but only because we now say it’s acceptable.

I find this article in the recent August issue of Allure magazine extremely ironic because JUST last week I was in the bathroom with a new employee at my job, a young black girl with very short natural hair. She looked at my fro (I just so happened to be wearing it in full force that day) and this is how our conversation went:

Girl: “Do they say anything to you about wearing your hair like that”

Me: “Like what, what do you mean?”

Girl: “All out like that, they don’t care?”

Me: “*Sigh* No they haven’t said anything about me wearing my natural hair as it grows out of my scalp”

She smiled and said “wow that’s awesome”. See? Do you see why articles like this Allure feature is problematic? We have black women hiding their natural hair to go on job interviews. Stuffing their beautiful kinks and curls under caps and wigs, afraid that if they came in as they are they won’t be taken seriously, respected or even offered the position. It’s a slap in the face when magazines who rarely show black women, let alone black women with natural hair, are now praising the afro look and even give a step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve it on white women with straight hair! When so many women of color are shamed into straightening their hair just to fit in. But look! The beauty Gods have smiled down on us and said it’s OK to wear afros. yay! *total sarcasm*. Here’s a closer look at the article

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I think the problem here too is calling it an afro. The picture posted is NOT an afro. A true afro can only be achieved on ‘afro textured’ hair, ie coarse strands ie black hair. Pictured above is a twist out or tight wand curls, certainly not an afro. If Allure wanted to celebrate the ‘new afro trend’ why not feature a black model? Why not speak to their black audience (we can assume it’s small but regardless) and show techniques on perfecting our look. How about featuring a natural hair model and say this is the desired look they were trying to emulate, because…isn’t it?

What do you think? should we be happy they are finding beauty in our look? do you think it’s the same as when black  women straighten our hair?

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