African-Americans,  Afro-Americans,  Afro-Lations,  Race identity,  Race in America

How the word “Afro” is used in the USA versus in Africa & Latin America

During the 60s and 70s in the United States of America, the African-American community was diving deep into the Civil Rights Movement. In this time frame of life, many African-Americans embraced their afro to redefine personal style and appreciation of their beauty. This cultural movement marked a return to more natural, untreated hairstyles. The afro became a powerful political symbol that reflected Black pride and a rejection of notions from Euro-Americans working in the professional world who didn’t see this hairstyle fit in the business professional world.

In the mid-1960s, the afro hairstyle began in a fairly tightly coiffed form, such as the hairstyle that became popular among the Black Panther Party members. The late 1960s/early 1970s saw an expansion in afros overall size. Some of the entertainers and sociopolitical figures of the time known for wearing larger afros include political activist Angela Davis, actress Pam Grier, rock musician Jimi Hendrix, singer Miriam Makeba, and the musical groups’ members The Jackson 5 and The Supremes.

In contrast, the afro’s popularity among African Americans had already started to wane by the early 1970s; the afro’s introduction to the mainstream and its adoption by people of non-African descent caused the afro to lose its radical, political edge. The 1970s saw an increase in braided hairstyles such as cornrows among both sexes of African Americans.

Since the 60s & 70s, the word afro in the United States depicts a natural-kinky-coily volumized hairstyle worn by African-Americans. In today’s time, mostly women and some men are going back to their natural hairstyles. The Big Chop movement within the African-American community represented women cutting off their relaxed/straight hair and beginning a new chapter of their natural hair.

I’m writing about this because the word “afro” spelled this way should be changed by dropping the “a”. If we drop the “a”, the word turns to “fro” which still means volumized, kinky, coily, natural hair. The new word form, “fro” can still make sense to the natural puffy hairstyle. Majority of African-Americans when they see the natural volumized puffy hairstyle still to this day call it an “afro”. Hopefully, we can transition to recognize the hairstyle in the word term “fro.

Because of our mama Africa, Afro-Brazilians, Afro-Latinos, Afro-Carribeans, and Afro-Cubans have always embraced who they are as Africans living in another land. They’ve blended cultures with the Portuguese and Spaniards to create new music, dance, art, and food. The Afro momentum within the African diaspora from people working in the music industry, fashion, entertainment, culinary, writers, and social media influencers are spreading the love and beauty of African culture.

The subject of the word in the United States has been transitioning in small pockets. Some Afro-Americans are utilizing the abbreviated concept of “Afro” on their username accounts, clothing brands, music festivals, events, and news content on digital sites. You may have heard a festival called AfroPunk on the East Coast that’s been defining a culture space for creatives, artists, and musicians. A space dedicated to letting people let lose in how they see fit. This festival refers to the participation of African-Americans in punk and alternative subcultures.

Let’s examine how in Africa and other African descent populations in Europe, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean use the word “Afro.”

Specifically in these parts of the world. The word “Afro” is not used to represent hairstyle; it represents people of African descent. In Africa, they use the word “Afro” to associate with the new African music style that’s making waves in the USA called Afrobeat or Afrohouse music. This music genre is coming from Africans within the African diaspora. Another way, the “Afro” prefix is used when recognizing your African heritage/race, especially when you live outside of Africa.

For instance, many Africans live in Mexico, Central America, and South America. These Africans use the prefix word “Afro” to represent their African ancestry. Afro-Mexicans, Afro-Hondurans, Afro-Belizians, Afro-Panamanians, Afro-Columbians, Afro-Peruvians, and so on. However, many of these Africans still associate with the word “black” because of media & entertainment in the USA. Even though they associate their race group with the prefix, “Afro.” This group of Afro-Latinos celebrates its African heritage, culture, fashion, and food. Some groups of Afro-Latinos still speak their African dialectic while they know their secondary language, Spanish.

Being able to witness these groups of Afro-Latinos, who cherish their African heritage while not living in Africa, is a powerful statement of their cultural recognition. This is something that Black Americans recognize but not really because Black Americans are focused on their color and not their cultural ancestry from Africa.

The hope and action moving forward in time educate Black Americans on their African heritage, ancestry, and culture. The hope is to identify ourselves, write about ourselves, and love ourselves as Africans living in the USA.

What do ya’ll think about changing the word term “Afro” to “Fro”?

Comment below so we can discuss.

To coordinate with the African Diaspora, using the prefix word “Afro” means a person of African descent.

AfroEspiritu / AfroEsprit / AfroSpirit / AfroEspirito

Hey, y'all, Welcome to my about me page. It's a pleasure to introduce myself. My name is Esperance, but I also go by Espe, which sounds like an "SP." I was born in Rhode Island and raised in New Hampshire in New England's Northeast region. At the University of New Hampshire, I went to college in Durham, NH, studied Recreation Management & Policy with minors in Business Administration & Hospitality Management. In summer 2011, I decided to move to California for AmeriCorps and found myself in volunteer-community service for two years in Watsonville, CA. I love the area so much. I lived in Santa Cruz for 2 years and fell in love with a Salvadorean man while living together in Aromas, CA. I've been living in the country-rural life for 6 years and probably for another two years. A lot has been happening around the world, but the ones that struck me the most were the killings of my brother's and sister's, not relatives, but my people, my African American people struck by outrageous police force brutality, and sadly lost their lives. It pains me to see this happening in our lifetime, and the majority of the police officers get indicted, showing no accountability for their flagrant actions on human life. Even in life, I've always lived as an African American woman, and I never saw or identified myself as Black or People of Color, which most of my race identifies with Black, Blackness, or People of Color. I want to help empower those Black Americans who identify with Black to transform their race mentality to Afri/African American. To love, say, write, describe yourself in the Afri/African American context. The majority are still in the Black context. I'm a full-time digital marketer working as a freelancer and on my own projects with Black 2 Afri, Wild 4 Bamboo, and Earthian Digital Marketing. I received my master's degree in Digital Marketing from Concordia College and gained experience freelancing on Upwork in April of 2020. Keeping in touch with your customers and audience base depend on valuable content presented to keep them engaged with your brand. I develop step-by-step digital marketing guidance, advice, and consultations for clients needing digital marketing. I also love cooking, playing, and watching sports: mostly soccer, basketball, track & field, making chili sauces, watching car racing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, the outdoor life, studying languages: Spanish, French, and traveling. I love to cook West African food, American food, Italian and Chinese food. I'm hoping to create a West African food pop-up event next year. Besides being a cook, I love to dance, watch action/comedy/drama movies, garden, and have a good time on Earth.

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