The Afro: Then and Now

The Afro: Then and Now
ESSENCE.COM Oct, 04, 2011

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Political activist Angela Davis popularized larger-than-life hair when she proudly rocked her afro in the 60’s.

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In the late ‘60s, few afros were as powerfully majestic as Marsha Hunt’s.The singer,actress and model lit up the stage in skintight buckskin pants, belly-baring halters and that awe-inspiring cloud of hair.

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Actress Diahann Carroll is one of the great beauties of our time. Her luxurious halo of curls is simply stunning.

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In the Seventies, Pam Grier made a name for herself not only for her iconic roles in blaxploitation flicks like Foxxy Brown, but also for her super-big, sexy afro.

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On her first solo tour of Britain, Diana Ross rocked a head full of voluminous ringlets—a real departure from the structured Supremes bouffants of the Sixties.

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At a party with photographer Steven Meisel, Naomi Campbell rocked an oversized, Angela Davis-esque afro.

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Chaka hits the stage with Rufus rocking an enormous, fluffy ’fro.

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Iman hit an Interview party sporting a cherry red mane overflowing with face-framing, high-volume spirals.

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Out of all the years we’ve been Beyonce fans, this lavish ‘do is the biggest hair we’ve ever seen on Bey!

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Erykah Badu stays true to her roots rocking a striking, full afro.

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Macy Gray has made her full, flourishing afro into her trademark hairdo over the years.

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When Kelis first landed on the scene, curly girls everywhere were in love with her big, bright spirals.

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At an Oscar party, Lauryn Hill sported an oversize coily wig and Harlequin-style makeup. Don’t you love this look?

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At one of her concerts, Jill Scott channeled ’70s glamazons with her oversized, multi-hued afro.

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Tanika Ray creates fro-like appeal with this full style in rich, golden-brown hues.

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Never one to shy away from a show-stopping ’do, Erykah Badu hits the stage in an all-encompassing afro.

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All eyes were on Kelly Rowland when she traded in her signature, sleek hair for huge, Chaka Khan-esque tresses.

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Serena Williams scored big when she rocked a cascade of full, lush ringlets.

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Marsha Ambrosius sported a modern take on the ’fro with a tumble of natural ringlets with subtle highlights. Love it!

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We don’t know what’s more impressive, that Esperanza Spalding took home this year’s Best New Artist Grammy…or her perfectly shaped, lustrous afro!

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Jada Pinkett Smith modernizes her fluffy hair by creating looser curls that frame her face perfectly.

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Kimberly Elise made a bold mane statement when she let loose her natural curls for a care-free summer style.

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With her clear caramel skin and riot of natural ringlets, Vanessa A. Williams is absolutely glowing.

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Nicki Minaj remixes the classic afro by giving her platinum tendrils an angular shape.

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Beyonce made waves- literally and figuratively- when she debuted her new, shoulder-length spirals this summer.

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Rihanna went for high-drama with a fierce, frizzed-out style in a crimson hue we adore!

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At the ESSENCE and BET party honoring Tracee Ellis Ross, the lady of the hour looked lovely wearing a lush, curly ’do.

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Solange is currently the leader of the pack when it comes to flaunting her beautiful, kinky-textured tresses.

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Solange takes her hair to new heights by adding a funky and chic side part.

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Whether short or long, we’re coveting Solange’s afro-chic looks!


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