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September 22, 2016

Vintage Afro Hairstyles - 16 Fascinating Ads for Hair Products Designed for African-Americans from the 1960s

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, awareness of newly independent African nations and the victories and setbacks of the civil rights movement encouraged feelings of hope and anger, as well as exploration of identity among young African Americans.

The Afro originated in that political and emotional climate. The style fit with a broader generational rejection of artifice but more importantly, it expressed defiance of racist beauty norms, rejection of middle-class conventions, and pride in black beauty. The unstraightened hair of the Afro was simultaneously a way to celebrate the cultural and physical distinctiveness of the race and to reject practices associated with emulation of whites.

Dancers, jazz and folk musicians, and university students may have enjoyed greater freedom to defy conventional styles than ordinary working women and were the first to wear unstraightened styles.

Below is a selection of 16 fascinating vintage ads of Afro hairstyles from the 1960s.



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