Beauty - Hair Care - Fashion : The Truth about the Afro (The Bush)

Discussion in 'Beauty - Black Hair Care - Fashion' started by KPITRL, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. KPITRL

    KPITRL Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    A lot of young blacks in America didn't know this, and everybody may not agree here, but although we called this style the afro, it never really was a true style for modern Africa, especially the men. I want to focus on the large afro, the bush as we called it back in the day. I came to this conclusion when I sat down one day and realized that back when it came out in the late 60's, most brothers couldn't grow the Jackson 5 bush very fast, the group that made the hair style popular on their Ed Sullivan debut...Michael in particular. You were lucky to get a Marlon. You had to have that perfect combination of natural hair and some admixture in your hair texture for it to grow fast and stand up bushy without doing much to it. When I think back, I only knew a handful of brothers who had it like that, and I wasn't one of them. The rest of us had to platt or cornrow our hair every night, then blow dry it right after taking them out in the morning. My bush would wound up lopsided by the time I got home from school. I guess this was my version of the Afro-Sheen Blowout Kit. I never did buy that product from the store, or understood how that was suppose to work. But I knew it wasn't going to blow out in one minute, the way that bomb made it sound on that Soul Train commercial. So being a brother with hair long enough to platt didn't necessarily mean you could wear a bush that easy. Again, that was why you platted it...so you could get it to stand up straight enough to wear the bush. Then you had some brothers who had the Richard Roundtree length, however that wasn't really a bush...but keeping it like that was enough maintenance by itself with all that Afro-Sheen. Then you had some brothers who couldn't grow long hair fast enough at all. You may have seen them try to wear the bush once or twice. Their bush would get no larger than a half inch. These were the brothers who made it look worst trying to get a bush, and probably did better by not wearing a bush at all, including the Richard Roundtree afro.

    So when I thought about all the maintenance that came with keeping a bush, we worked on our hair almost like women. Something don't sound right about that. Today, imagining a man wearing his bush as big as his woman beside him, wouldn't look quite as manly as it did to me in the past. Back then, it seemed like the bigger your bush was, the more man you were, or the more black you were, or the more women liked you. When I look at all the damage we use to do to our hair, I feel sorry for the young brothers if that style ever comes back and stay, like it did in the late 60's. I think they learned something from us however, and kept it low or bald.

    Then when you think about Africans, West Africans who we come from in particular, this couldn't have been a popular hair style, if at all. If so many African-American men with their already mixed hair texture, could barely wear a bush without doing things to it like the Afro-Sheen Blowout Kit, then how could those African men with even less admixture in their hair texture easily worn a bush, or even have wanted to. Now I'm not saying nobody there could grow one, but I think if they did, the style most likely came from African-Americans. The only African men I could see wearing a bush, especially a curly bush easily, would be East or North Africans...that would be if the men ever wanted to grow hair that long in the first place. I think if any Africans grew bushes at all, it were mostly the women, and it would be various styles of the bush more likely, although they probably didn't call it a bush, and definitely not an afro.

    So why did we ever chose the name Afro in the first place, when most of them probably looked at us like we were crazy when they first seen us wearing them, especially the Billy Preston type bush or the Angela Davis style large afro in particular. This makes me think a little about that controversial video in the seventies with Louis Farrakhan saying African-Americans didn't need to be wearing their hair all wild and crazy, and piercing their bodies, then going on to say that we were not the same Africans that came on the middle passage, and that we've evolved. I can understand the body piercing part, but my common sense tells me that the wild hair in which I assume he was referring to the large afro or bush, wasn't necessarily a popular hair style with Africa. Maybe he was directing the comment more to the African-American women, especially after he mentioned the body piercing. The wild hair part may have been something to get everybodies attention.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  2. Enki

    Enki The Evolved Amphibian STAFF

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    Nicely written and conveyed bruh...it put me back in da day when the Jackson 5 was the group for kid in my age group.:toast:


    Move over in dat boat bruh, and let me in wit'cha:lol:

    My hair was nappy, mad, and angry until I got it braided then it was lop sided and angry. I never could get that Micheal fro.... and Afro Sheen was not workin:rofl:

    Peace!
     
  3. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    My understanding is Angela Davis wore a wig and the Jackson 5 were wealthy.

    Although, in no way did the "Afro" have origins with us, Queen Tiye (mother of Akhenaten) is one of the most popular examples of an Afro and she's older than Ancient Judaism:

    [​IMG]

    To wit, hair picks are very ancient and I'm sure ancient Africans were able to 'soften' their hair--I mean we built pyramids, performed heart surgery and understood the speed of light!
     
  4. KPITRL

    KPITRL Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I understand the Afro, because of the connection it had with the African-America Civil Rights and Black Panther Party movements, was seen as a dangerous symbol of political unrest in certain outside cultures including Tanzania, which is in East Africa...were it was illegal to even wear one in that country in the 70's. They saw it as a sign of American culture invasion.
     
  5. KPITRL

    KPITRL Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That controversial Farrakhan video from the 70's does make more sense now when he was talking about not wearing our hair wild and crazy, and not piercing our bodies to identify with Africa, and that we were not the same Africans who came over on the middle passage, and that we've evolved. When he said we evolved, he wasn't saying we evolved away from the Africans, but instead we both evolved, although we did in a different land since slavery. He did finish by saying however we were still Africans. If I was anywhere near as old as he was when the bush came out, and deeply involved with the uprising of African-Americans, then saw how most Africans really felt about the bush, then I would have automatically understood where he was coming from. With his ability to travel out this country back then, something that was even less common for the average black person, he must have been already conscious of every thing I said on this thread concerning the bush.
     
  6. KPITRL

    KPITRL Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Maybe Farrakhan should have also warned us about the hair damage that half of us were vulnerable too, after trying to keep that bush. Maybe he did. Anyway, I'm a bald headed brother today, and been that way since my 30's...it actually started before. I wonder if that's why the bald head became a style, and still is, resulting from all that damage we use to do trying to keep that bush up. Although mine is also genetics, I still think trying to keep that bush speeded up the process a little. One way or another, this style won't be going out with me anytime soon. I think it's easier this way. But on the other hand, keeping that head shinny can be a job too...lol.
     
  7. Kadijah

    Kadijah Banned MEMBER

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    That's the point. The Afro was an African-American invention. You speak of cornrowing your hair. African men were appalled at bruthas corn-rowing their hair; said it was a FEMALE thing (and on the continent, it is). But African-Americans are in the vanguard, not continental Africans. THEY follow us, not vice versa, e.g., the red, black and green flag. Nationalists in the 1970s created this flag. During the Nigerian civil war, the Igbo adopted the red, black and green as their flag.

    It's the same with white people. EVERYBODY follows the lead of African-Americans when it comes to culture and style. Not only that, the oppressed of many nations follow the lead of Dr. King and the CRM when organizing. The Irish women who won the Nobel Peace Prize a few years ago gave homage to Dr. King and the foot soldiers of the CRM for showing them the way. When Chavez in S. America came to power, first thing he did was to pay homage to Dr. King.

    African-Americans lead the way in today's world; not continental Africans.

    As for Michael and the Jackson 5? They were late to the party. It was the brutha in the street who came up with the Afro. To stay current, i.e., in fashion, the Jackson 5 simply fell in line with the "people movement" street style.

    One last thing: About bruthas' hair not being long enough or kinky enough to pick out into an Afro? A co-worker astounded me once about that. She said her husband and his friends wore Afro WIGS! Said many of the bruthas sporting those big, blowsy Afros back in the day, did.
     
  8. Kadijah

    Kadijah Banned MEMBER

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    Btw, the Afro was NOT the "Bush." The Bush was a popular 1940's style for sistahs and a 1950s style for bruthas.
     
  9. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    now we just need to monetize it better.......
     
  10. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    wigs? naw!

    [​IMG]
     
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