Day 62: African hairstyles are the big flex — BBTitans

18 March 2023
Loc it, perm it, twist it! As we celebrate beauty with Biggie, we floss on ‘em with the history, influence and power of Afro-textured serves.

Every day is a perfect day to celebrate the magic of African hair. After all, one’s hair is considered their crown in this part of the earth.

Now that Biggie dedicated this week to the theme of beauty, we decided to bring up our favourite topic: African hairstyles. In this article, we take a deep dive into the rich world of Afro-textured hair.

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We spill the tea on how it uniquely allows infinite ways of creative styling, soak in the rich history that distills the functional and aesthetic genesis of ancient hairstyles, and then bask on the most iconic styles originating - and being perfected as we speak -  in different parts of the continent.

Let’s get started. Did you know that many styles and trends in pop culture and high fashion have long been derived from traditional African hairstyles that have existed for centuries?

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For decades, stylists, glam squads, editors, and other influential decision-makers took inspiration from an inexhaustible range of African hairstyles to produce iconic looks for their muses.

From the movies to the red carpets and high fashion editorials, Afro-chic has gone from being an appropriated cultural reference to being the cover girl.

This is the perfect segue to bring in such fashion and pop culture icons as Grace Jones, whose haircuts influenced fashion in the '80s and '90s. Jones is as celebrated for her disco club anthems as she is for her era-defining drip.

Much of her slay also centred around the haircuts she defiantly rocked against a wave of Eurocentric benchmarks of beauty.

There’s a long history of hair and flair in African cultures. The usage of bold colours to indicate social hierarchies has been prevalent as early as the 15th century. According to Africa.com, different ethnic groups and members of royal families have long rocked different hairstyles to convey stature, ranking and nobility.

That’s something to think about the next time you are feeling yourself after getting that fresh new fade.

Further to fashion and style, many African hairstyles have other important protective, identity and cultural functions. Protective hairstyles, for example, is a term defining such styles as braids, weaves, twists, locs and wigs to protect black hair from potential damage due to manipulation and chemicals.

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