The Afro, the untamed Black hair, is the most feared hairstyle in the Western world. Fear, unsubstantiated, by racist attitudes that fail to see the beauty of Black natural hair in its own right.
Many Black women have mastered various hairstyles with their natural hair but the one that needs no styling, is worn cautiously, if at all. The Afro is defiant. Not because it is angry or stubborn or rebellious, but because it is an unhidden, untampered representation of Black self-love and self-acceptance. It is considered “unprofessional” in the workplace not because it is unruly, but because it is a symbol of Black liberation. It is no wonder many professional Black men shave off their beautiful Afro hair in the workforce. It is a constant reminder of Blackness, and not everybody is comfortable dealing with it.
Despite people’s comfort levels, or their downright apprehension of the Afro we must be proud to wear our Afros. We must not cave in to societal values of white ideologies, because this is only one set of beauty ideologies that exist. Let us celebrate the Afro and view it without fear and condescension. Let us view it without being offended, uncomfortable or intimidated. One day, wearing an Afro won’t be a fierce act of autonomy and defiance. It will be an afterthought. Until then, ‘fro til we are free.