An extract on #afro
In people with naturally curly or straight hair, the hairstyle is instead typically created with the help of creams, gels or other solidifying liquids to hold the hair in place. Particularly popular in the African-American community of the late 1960s, the hairstyle is often shaped and maintained with the assistance of a wide-toothed comb colloquially known as an Afro pick.
"Afro" is derived from the term "Afro-American". The hairstyle is also referred to by some as the "natural"particularly the shorter, less elaborate versions of the Afrosince in most cases the hair is left untreated by relaxers or straightening chemicals and is instead allowed to express its natural curl or kinkiness.
In the 1860s, a hairstyle similar to the Afro was worn by the Circassian beauties. Sometimes known as "Moss-haired girls", they were a group of women exhibited in sideshow attractions in the United States by P. T. Barnum and others. These women were claimed to be from the Circassian people in the Northern Caucasus region, and were marketed to White audiences captivated by the "exotic East" as pure examples of the Caucasian race who were kept as sexual slaves in Turkish harems. It has been argued that this portrayal of a Caucasian woman as a rescued slave during the American Civil War played on the racial connotations of slavery at the time so that the distinctive hairstyle affiliates the side-show white Circassian with African-American identity, and thus:
resonates oddly yet resoundingly with the rest of her identifying significations: her racial purity, her sexual enslavement, her position as colonial subject; her beauty. The Circassian blended elements of white Victorian True Womanhood with traits of the enslaved black woman in one curiosity.
During the history of slavery in the United States, most African Americans styled their hair in an attempt to mimic the styles of the predominantly white society in which they lived. Afro-textured hair, characterized by its tight kinks, has been described as being kinky, coarse, cottony, nappy, or woolly. These characteristics represented the antithesis of the European American standard of beauty, and led to a negative view of kinky hair. As a result, the practice of straightening gained popularity among African Americans.
The process of straightening the hair often involved applying caustic substances, such as relaxers containing lye, which needed to be applied by an experienced hairstylist so as to avoid burning the scalp and ears. In the late 1890s/early 1900s, Madam C. J. Walker also popularized the use of the hot comb in the United States. Those who chose not to artificially treat their hair would often opt to style it into tight braids or cornrows. With all of these hairstyling methods, one ran the risk of damaging the hair shaft, sometimes resulting in hair loss.