“A IS FOR AFRO”
Copyright © ssjr 2011.
Artwork from new book, “A Is For Afro: Reading Is Power” written for children who are either learning the alphabet or just beginning to read. This book is a pre-primer text for pre-kindergartners, kindergartners, first-graders or second-graders who are in need of some reading remediation.
“A Is For Afro: Reading Is Power” Book Spotlight
LAST SOLD TEE: 02.14.2012
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE ARTWORK:
Afro, sometimes shortened to ’fro and also known as a “natural”, is a hairstyle worn naturally by people with lengthy kinky hair texture or specifically styled in such a fashion by individuals with naturally curly or straight hair. The hairstyle is created by combing the hair away from the scalp, allowing the hair to extend out from the head in a large, rounded shape, much like a halo, cloud or ball.12345
In persons with naturally curly or straight hair, the hairstyle is 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,35 the hairstyle is often shaped and maintained with the assistance of a wide-toothed comb colloquially known as an afro pick.234
HISTORY IN THE UNITED STATES
In the 1860s, a style similar to the Afro was worn by the Circassian beauties, sometimes known as “Moss-haired girls”, 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 white race who were kept as sexual slaves in Turkish harems.67 It has been argued that this portrayal of a white 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:6
“…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 African American woman in one curiosity.”
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