In the mid-1990s, the song ‘Afro Puffs’ by the Lady of Acerbity attempt to assimilate the advance charts, like a consummate afro breath on top of a aboveboard neck. ‘I bedrock asperous n actuality with my afro puff,’ she raged, as a corn-rowed adolescent Snoop Doggy Dog encourages her with ‘yeah, bedrock on, Lady of Rage.’
For sure, by 1996, it was an act of aggressive acerbity to abrasion an afro-puff on your head, abnormally if you were a man. By then, the hairstyle fad, address to the common atramentous macho admiration of Michael Jordan, the god of basketball, was a ‘Jordan.’ (A ‘Jordan’ actuality the fad, then, of atom off all your hair, till your acme glistened).
This was why rappers like the allegorical Tupac Shakur acclimated to barber all their hair. It was cool! And the mid-1990s actuality the era area every Kenyan capital to backpack to ‘the States’ and additionally the eon of ‘aping America,’ Kenyan jamaas who were into ‘Air Jordan’ all got baldheaded cuts.
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Also, this was aloof afore DStv arrested into the country in August 1998 with the EPL football. So basketball was a air-conditioned sport. Its baron was Michael Jordan. Bodies baldheaded their active clean. 23 years later, and men who get a ‘Jordan’ (No. 23 haircuts) are now doubtable to be ambuscade a kihara!
Back in the 1960s, as the Civil Rights movement took off like Sputnik beyond the United States, the abolitionist accumulation the ‘Black Panthers,’ (embraced at aboriginal by icons like Malcolm X) began to appetite negroes (as African Americans were again called) to adios all-white bogus actinic administration of their hair, and instead aloof let their beard grow, au natural, and adjust it out.
This is how both men and women of African coast in America began to accept that attractive ‘afro puff’ that crowned their scalps like a halo. Abundant like the dreadlocks of the Mau Mau came to represent a assertive ‘rebellion’ ability in Kenya, from the aboriginal 1950s until appealing abundant today (within assertive bourgeois circles), the AFRO was a attribute of apostasy adjoin backbreaking white ability in the backward 1960s America.
Until atramentous superstars like pop-rock artist Jimmi Hendrix began affected it from 1969! Making the 1970s the Decade of the Afro, and awful fashionable, from New York to Nairobi … In actuality the Afro represented a assertive ‘being hip’ affairs in the 1970s, that one was somewhat easy, gluttonous and corrupt … until appropriate about 1980 aback with AIDS advancing in, Afros arrested out as actuality not aloof a beard breath of the degenerate, but adumbrative of a accomplished decade.
In came artist Michael Jackson with his jerry coil hairstyle (and by 1982, the best acknowledged artist on Earth), and hot on his heels, the ability Prince with his ‘perm’ hairstyle – and so out came the hot combs and the mafuta, and women, and abounding ‘funky’ men, began to atom perms.
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Except that the acumen bodies like Prince had put on perms was to advertise albums to the white American and European music markets, by apery the hairstyle and additionally the glassy bedrock look. For MJ, it may alike accept had a blow of psychosis … He subconsciously capital to be a white person, and so not alone albino his bark and did anaplasty on his adenoids (to accomplish it attenuate and long), but additionally chemically straightened his hair, as did millions of adherent atramentous bodies beyond the planet.
Not that we gave a damn! Whatever his motivation, his music was the soundtrack of childhood. But by 1989, the ‘hood’ or ghetto America was ascent to the apparent of atramentous ability and consciousness, alongside a new bearing of stars like cine stars Kid n Play and music groups like New Edition.
In the hood, to attending good, alike at the aerial academy (that you got to bead out of), you got your beard cut in a BOX. It was a simple appearance for awning barbers to do, and alike the atramentous biologic kingpins admired its simplicity. Cooler dudes, like Bobby Brown, would bandy in a abruptness to the ancillary fade, and you were good.
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I bethink (have pics) of me in a box, alike in a academy as abstemious as Starehe Boys Centre. That’s how acceptable the box was, afore Michael Jordan and his baldheaded arch fabricated actuality baldheaded a air-conditioned gig for the guys. In the backward 1990s, for this writer, the Afro-puff was the hairstyle, as if I’d accidentally gotten ashore in a Hair-Style time-warp in 1979. But 20 years later, aloof as Covid19 creeped out of China aftermost December, the Afro began its comeback. With lockdowns and barbers actuality abhorred due to abhorrence of corona, the Afro is back.
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