Photo taken at Creme De La Creme Hair Show 10/21/12
African American, afro hair, Afro hair styles, afro punk, beauty, bohemian, Columbia SC, Creme De La Creme Hair Gallery, Dreadloc mohawk, dreadlock hairs styles, dreadlock styles, Hair care, natural black hair, neo-soul, Tumika LaSha
I’ve gotten so many compliments all around with this hair style. It’s cool in this southern heat because my hair is off neck and in an updo, except for a few loc’s that my Stylist Tumika left in the front and the back to give my face a few spiral curls at my request.
One of the main things I hear from women who want to go natural but are hesitant is that they worry about the versatility of creating different hairstyles with their natural hair. One of the reasons (among others) for this blog is to showcase the different ways to be creative with your natural hair and ‘how to’s’ for natural hair care. I created an post many moons ago showing off the creative and artist styles that can be created with loc’s in particular. See that post here for more styles by Tumika at Creme De La Creme Hair gallery.
African American hair care culture, Afro-Asian, Afro-textured hair, Afroetic hair, Afroetic narrative, asian afro, Asian Afro Perm, asian braids, black culture, Black Diaspora, culture, Hair care, Japan, Japanese Afro perm, Lee Myung Bak, Lee Myung Bak's Afro, perspective, reggae perm, South Korea
Remember my previous post many moons ago, when I went trolling for pictures of what I considered to be the phenomena of Asians sporting afro’s, braids and dreadloc’s. However, it appears this has been a trending style in South Korea for more than a score, and perhaps even longer in Japan than I originally imagined.
It hasn’t escaped my notice that it is that post in particular that has lead many to my blog and which has gotten the most hits, linkbacks, and ‘likes’, included search terms with the tags ‘asian afro’, ‘afro asian’, ‘korean dude with dreadlocks’ ‘asian afro perm’ ‘afro hair’ ‘natural afro hair’ and many other variations and combinations. As the internet term goes, it’s ‘trending’ the web so to speak.
Having read through some of the discussions on different websites, forums, and blogs, there is some stigma among some Black people that this emulation ‘natural’ Afro-American hair is to be considered a mockery of ‘black culture/people’ or an offense. As a Southern black woman who not only wears my hair in it’s natural state, but also ventured on my own loc journey 5yrs ago (after wearing my hair in an Afro for 3yrs) that resulted in a spiritual re-evolution of my holistic inner-self, I can certainly tell the difference between admiration/inspiration and mockery while even keeping an awareness of the ‘posers’ (the ones who aggravate a bad name for everyone else). With that in consideration, i wanted to give some insight to my perspective, and I thank Regina at the ExpatJane blog for providing her personal and thoughtful insight into the queries of the trending Asian Afro from the Korean peninsular, having lived in South Korea for many years.
Regina makes an excellent point about how ‘afro textured hair’ has been so throughly vilified both historically and even now in popular media (remember the Don Imus controversy) that even within the Black Diaspora ‘afro natural hair’ is looked upon as subversive and sometimes just ‘undesirable’. Regina rightly points out that “Let’s just say that while almost every race of people have no problems wearing their hair as is, in black culture it’s looked upon as odd and subversive. That’s not to say that other races don’t seek to change, enhance or otherwise just play around with their hair. It’s just a bit different when the texture of your hair has literally been vilified……..[thus] the eventually internalization of the “super coily Afro hair is bad” aesthetic within the black disapora.”
And so it seems that, those who would see this as some kind of Asian appropriation of black culture is right…but I however disagree that it is a just out-right mockery of black culture. It’s my opinion that it is only a mockery or offense to those who are still not comfortable enough to wear their ‘own natural hair’ It’s like…..”how dare they admire or fashion trend something I myself as a black person wouldn’t even be caught dead wearing” While some black women give more excuse than a guy going to jail as to why they chemically straighten their hair, everything from “girl…my hair is too nappy for that” (when in reality they have been conking their hair since they were 4 or 5yrs old and don’t even know what the real texture of their hair is)..or I even heard this one before “Seriously, are you like on some ‘going back to Africa’ thing?” (when in reality, relaxers and weaves are all over the place on the African continent and Africans themselves are no more immune to the internalization of ‘eurocentric standards of beauty than black americans are perceived to be’.) And my favorite has something to do along the lines of preference (when in reality, so much of ‘personal preference’ has been programmed into people via popular media images and the pressures of societal ‘norms’ and standards of beauty that places European aesthetic above all in terms of perceived ’desirability’.)
In conclusion, I want to end this post with an observation that fickle minds have yet to consider. Many aspects of Asian culture has been appropriated for western audiences many times over. I see people with Japanese Kenji symbols tattooed on their body, with no valuable insight to it’s meaning and connotations. All the anime and manga fans simply miss the point. It’s ironic that those that complain about the narrow-minded view in which black people are view fail to also sympathize and articulate the shared experience in which Asians/Asian Americans are typically viewed. Impacts of European colonialism and globalization can be found around the globe, including Eastern Asia and the pacific where the market of cosmetic’s and the pursuit of ‘ideal standards of beauty’ (which are markedly Western in orientation in some regard) is a very large and lucrative business. In likeness..the industry behind black hair care in the West, (with all the chemicals, products, and of all things weaves (human hair comes from Asia mind you) is a billion dollar industry that the demographic that are the targeted consumers have no tangible investment in. So, if we are going to be offended by the appropriation of ‘black hair styles’ on non-black people, and have presumptuous opinions of Black people who do and/or want to embrace a more natural self, then perhaps we should be taking back our ‘blackness’ and appropriating our own culture and setting our own standards of beauty. Just a thought!!! Perhaps getting rid of this learned ‘shame of black aesthetics’ is the first step. How can one love and appreciate others with out fully loving and appreciating ones-self, and most importantly, how can you expect others too do the same of you?
Perhaps India Aire put’s it into song better than i can in words…
with love in mind,
Notice the tattoo there on my neck. It’s the Adinkra symbol Duafe. Surprisingly, this tattoo was not nearly as painful as the one on my foot. This was a style me and Tumika (LaSha) decided to be creative with. In the front of my Hair is Nubian knots, but I explained that I wanted some of my loc free to fall in the back of the Goddess bun made up of the nubian knots in the front. With the free standing locks…I simply twisted them (all in the same direction of the natural twist of my hair) and created a spiky look from the back view.
This style is courtesy Tumika Lasha at Creme De La Cream Hair Gallery located at
10014-F Two Notch rd.
Columbia, SC 29223
803- 419- 3666
This is for those who are constantly asking about different styles for women with natural hair. This is an example of a quick style that can be achieved by just braiding the hair in sections over night and pulling the braids out to create a wavy affect.
This style can be achieved with short or long hair.
Symbol of beauty and cleanliness; symbols of desirable feminine qualities
The meaning of this symbol is characterized slightly differently in “The Adinkra Dictionary” and “The Values of Adinkra Symbols”; the former emphasizes more abstract qualities of feminine goodness, love and care, while the latter has a more literal interpretation, looking one’s best and good hygiene. In any case, the duafe was a prized possession of the Akan woman, used to comb and plait her hair.
*see ‘West African Wisdom’ at adinkra.org
The Stylized comb refers to the feminine virtues of consideration, caution, circumspection, and tenderness.
In the African Diaspora, the wooden comb is better known as the Afro Pic or the Afro comb, which became a symbol of the radical and militancy of the Black Power Movement and the Black Arts Movement (B.A.M.) during the 60′s and 70′s with the affirmation of “Black is Beautiful”. The effect of the African-American Civil Rights Movement brought a renewed sense of identity to the African American community which also resulted in a redefinition of personal style that included an appreciation of African beauty and aesthetics, as embodied by the Black is beautiful movement. This cultural movement marked a return to more natural, untreated hairstyles. The Afro became a powerful political symbol which reflected black pride and a rejection of notions of assimilation and integration and Euro-American standards of beauty.
Hairstyles in Africa and among African Americans are ever-changing, yet deeply rooted in a shared past.
Hairdressing in Africa is always the work of trusted friends or relatives. In addition to the amiable social aspects of the event, the hair, in the hands of an enemy, could become an ingredient in the production of a dangerous charm or “medicine” that would injury the owner.
The Afro Pic today can be found with a Black Power Fist on the Handle
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