In the 1960’s and 70s, the Afro was perceived as a major political statement that, beforehand, would have never appeared in the pages of a mainstream publication, or graced the motion picture or television screens. The Afro originated in both a political and emotional climate.
At the peak of its popularity, the Afro epitomized the “Black is Beautiful” movement. In those years, the style was a celebration of Black pride and a rejection of Eurocentric beauty standards.
The Afro created a sense of commonality among African Americans who saw the style as a mark of a person who was willing to take a different stand against racial injustice. Black teenagers wore the Afro with pride and distinction because it was theirs…and “no White person could take it away from them.” For many Black men, it was about “cool pose” and, to a degree, about hyper-masculinity in the face of police brutality and constant oppression.
The Afro would become Black beauty personified—and done without White validation. The Afro did not care about critics. It did not care about disapproving looks.