Earlier this week, popular fashion commentator and Creative Ambassador for Barneys New York, Simon Doonan penned a rather interesting article for Slate.com, where he recounted the extensive research that he’d done on actress Pam Grier in preparation for an upcoming interview with the 63-year-old beauty. In the article titled, “Pam Grier’s Afro: Let’s Bring It Back,” Doonan goes on to praise the actress for the big, fluffy tresses she rocked back in the day. While Simon’s admiration of the ‘fro seems harmless, there’s something rather ironic about him urging people to “bring back the afro,” meanwhile the ‘fro never really went anywhere, not to mention the natural hair revolution that has been sweeping the nation for years now.
“The afro had it all: It was natural, symbolic, regal, unisex, and glamorous. Liberated from the costly and time-consuming burden of trying to make their hair resemble that of white folk, black chicks—and dudes—had found the perfect marriage of style and practicality. And yet … styles change, and fashion evolves, and the afro has—with the exception of occasional retro-hipster sighting on Broadway below Eighth Street—become as rare as a dodo,” Doonan wrote.
His commentary left many people with raised eyebrows, asking themselves, “Where the hell has this guy been?”
“It is impossible to imagine Beyoncé or Kerry Washington or Michelle Obama rocking a Pam Grier afro today (though Beyoncé paid a retro-camp tribute to the style in the 2002 Austin Powers movie). The alternatives—$2,000 weaves, time-consuming blowouts, and scalp-searing chemical processing—seem infinitely less desirable, and yet, African-Americans have largely turned their backs on the freaky ’fro. But what does this honky know?”
“Thanks to the current unpopularity of the afro, afro picks can be purchased at rock-bottom prices […]The revolution is coming, and it will be YouTubed. So get your pick now and start practicing,” Doonan goes on to say.
I know what you’re probably thinking and others share your sentiments. Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart quickly pointed out that Doonan resides in New York City where there is a large population of people embracing their natural locs.
“Doonan lives in New York, where a veritable ton of people are embracing natural hair, be it a TWA (teeny weeny afro) or a larger, fluffy ‘fro. From Harlem to Clinton Hill and Fort Greene and beyond, natural hair is all over this town,” Stewart notes.
The Root’s Akoto Ofori-Atta also had a few words for Dooan and his commentary.
So far, Simon has yet to respond to the interesting reactions that his “bring back the afro” campaign stirred up.