2009
12.10

It is almost an incontestable fact that African Americans are among the most artistically inclined societies in the world; and it is therefore no wonder that their there is such a great variety of African American hairstyles – seeing that a ‘hairstyle’ is first and foremost a work of art. Another possible explanation as to why there are so many African-American hairstyles has to be the fact that there are so many ‘sub-cultures’ within the African American society, with almost each of these sub-cultures having a unique hairstyle for identification purposes among its members, and typically with each sub-cultures hairstyle being one of the features that add up to the member’s ‘sense of belonging’ in the group.

While going into naming and describing each of the numerous African-American hairstyles would be a huge task enough to make a several thousand page thesis, a number of things can be said in general about the African American hairstyles.

One is that, as would be expected, there seems to be a greater variety of such African-American hairstyles for women that there are for men – though the African-American men are not altogether bereft of ‘outstanding’ hairstyles. One of the most remarkable of these African American hairstyles of men (which by and large remained an African American hairstyle because other hair types could simply not accommodate it) is the so-called ‘Afro’ hairstyle that rocked most of the 70s and 80s: where the hair was let to grow tall and thick (but not long enough to fall over), then combed thoroughly and (vertically) straight to come up with a very outstanding look on the part of the wearer that worked wonders; especially when worn with the ‘belly bottom’ trousers of that age when the ‘Afro’ ruled African American hairstyle circles. And since hairstyle fashion trends go in cycles, it is not surprising that the ‘Afro’ is increasingly making a comeback though to be sure, nowadays, it is the ultra-stylishly minded individual who doesn’t mind being labeled ‘eccentric’ who is likely to be seen wearing an ‘Afro’ today.

Among the women in the African-American society, braids (and the whole range of braided hairstyles) are extremely popular – with some of these even finding acceptance among men who ‘are in touch with their feminine side.’ The black hair is, of course, easily workable into braids – which is why the braided look has found little usage outside the African American society in the USA.

Closely related to the braids are the African-American hairstyles based on weaves – since the strength of the African American hair makes it possible to weave it into various shapes. Unlike the braids, though, the weaves mainly remain popular among the women, with only the occasional man who is not afraid to ‘stand out’ sporting one or another variety of the weave.

Dreadlocks (and associated hairstyles) are another popular variety of African American hairstyles, especially among the subscribers of the Rastafarian faith ands its sympathizers; who were for quite a good number of years almost in a majority in the African American society, before the hip-hop revolution of recent years which has seen the numbers even out between those who are sympathetic to the Rastafarian cause and those who prefer the much more easy-going approach to life epitomized by the hip hop subculture.

Author: Jamie Gram
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

  1. How to keep my locks neat nd tidy,I haven’t found a salon tht satisfies me in terms of styling nd making my hair neat.sometimes when I just feel like washing my hair nd just leave it like that for it to breath,it does look neat it still bushy ,please helpfor

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  2. Dreadlocks, especially when worn by a guy, can be very attractive in a weird kind of way. Maintenance, however, can be tricky as it is not easy to clean.

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    • thats not true dreadlocks are very easy to clean all you have to do is wash it like you would any other hair

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  3. Dreadlocks are cool and is good for those who will look good with it. I would like to try this some time. That’s if I am prepared.

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  4. looking for a shop that can lock my root not just twist my hair .

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    • twisting my hair it just come back down

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  5. Dread locks are so easy to maintain!
    you want everything to be brighten as the sun in this world of machines, and that is why dreads seems so difficult of maintaining for some, making them stressing all around about their hair. and you’re in a hurry.
    First of all you need to have a good balanced diet.
    Secondly you need to feel yourself confident in life, share love and have a good behaviour,
    Thirdly, by the end just be natural with your hair, no chemicals please!
    Wash them when you feel you need your sclap to be fresh, it’s like your boby when you want to take a bath!
    just palmrooll twice a month your dreads, free form them on the scalp to avoid dragon locks and wash them once a week at least. You don’t need anymore actions on your hair. Don’t forget they are alive and your diet influences them.
    Take care of yourself and watch on your hair. you can do everything at home.I’m a young african girl from Benin, french west Africa, MBA marketing projects studies.
    JUST BE ATTENTIVE, EVERYTHING GONNA BE OK!

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  6. I have always wanted to have dreadlocks. It just seems so difficult to maintain it.

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  7. Hi
    We have many african visitors to our site and facebook page for plus sized people. Many of them have traditional african hair styles which I love. I know several women who regularly go home to sierra leone to have their hair braided ‘properly’ since they can’t get it done to their satisfaction in London.

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  8. You too easily generalized and homogenized the african american experience with hair, simply reducing black peoples hair to sub-clurtures and style is a poor analysis, especially when it comes to afros and dreadlocks and their oppositional meanings. This is the saddest article I have ever read.

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  9. I remember Afros well. It seems so long ago. It is interesting that they are making a comeback. I love braids – on both men and women. I wish they would work on my hair!

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  10. What looks better for a black male in his 30’s dreads or cornrolls

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    • I think dreads look better on men now days im 61 and have dreads for 3yrs now the women love them.

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  11. You took the words right out of my mouth! excellent <3 ~ laJuana

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