The Afro hairdo is a "natural" and progressive by-product of style, fashion and culture. Its history is our history, a history rich in tradition, beauty and defiance that has its roots in the beginning of civilization. Crossing continents from Ethiopia & East Africa to Atlanta & East Oakland. It still continues to fascinate and arouse awe and envy and the new coffee table and lifestyle book, AFROS - A Celebration Of Natural Hair is a mega-ton encyclopedia of the current explosion of Afros & 'Fros inspired hairstyles that are distinctively beautiful and bold. Michael July's travels across America allowed him to capture a cross-section of individuals who wear their hair with pride that is uniquely their own. Each page is bursting with fresh crisp colors and remarkably attractive people. The hard cover book is lavishly over-sized, filled with hundreds of pages and images produced and contextualized with each subject's superbly crafted comments and essays on how they feel about natural hair. July was able to provide his book designers Darhil Crooks & Monica Whittick with a wealth of striking images and powerful commentaries from each subject that allowed them to create a vibrant & engrossing coffee-table tome. Seven years in the making, AFROS - A Celebration Of Natural Hair is American culture, African culture and today's international culture that is a powerful topic during a time of transition from the synthetic world we once knew into the natural world we are becoming today. Black hair, particularly Afros are unbelievably powerful. Black hair reaches for the sky and beyond. Beginning in the mid to late 60s a whole new radical thinking and holistic movement came into being. Art, music, literature and politics became more passionate and unbound. What makes this book truly interesting is the way the pages draw you into their realm, and with all the advantages of visual and intellectual insight, they remain a true and enduring delight for the senses."
Emotional. Striking. Riveting. These descriptions don’t even do justice to Michael July’s AFROS: A Celebration of Natural Hair. Capturing the history, ancestry and essence of our hair in its rawest form, the ’fro, July’s tome shares his photogenic exploration of the beauty and history of our hair. He no doubt makes it clear why the Afro should be celebrated: it’s special. His six-year journey led him to meet some of the most amazing Black men, women and kids with funky ’fros sharing the cool stories behind their hair.
- EBONY Magazine (Style)
Oprah unveiled the September cover of O, The Oprah Magazine on Instagram today, and holy hell is it amazing. Oprah chose not to go the "fall fashion" route and instead hosts a hair extravaganza that teaches her disciples how to "grow it," "blow it," and "awesomely 'fro it".
And why wouldn't we take advice from Oprah? She's pretty much the guru of awesomely ’fro-ing it. Just check out the size of the her enormous Afro on the cover. She looks like the love child of Diana Ross and Chaka Kahn ("plus two other people," she remarks). The wig, designed by stylist Kim Kimble and wrangled by Andre Walker, weighs 3.5 pounds (or the size of a small Chihuahua). When best friend Gayle saw the wig during the shoot, she quipped, "Can someone put on the soundtrack to The Lion King?" She should be an entry in Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair. It must be said, a wrap dress and a yappy toy-dog-sized Afro is an incredibly slimming combination: Oprah looks svelte!
- O Magazine
Thought the Afro was a hairstyle of the past, gone the way of bell-bottom jeans and peace signs? No way — natural hair never goes out of style. In fact, celebrities like Solange Knowles and Questlove have already championed the fuss-free hair look, and now Michael July, a rad photographer from Brooklyn's Clinton Hill, celebrates the coiff with a 450-page book and exhibit at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn. Out July 26, Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair documents the contemporary resurgence of the fluffy-hair trend.
July's quest to photograph subjects for his piece is pretty epic. Beginning in 2006, he traveled all over the U.S. in search of iconic hair. After four years of struggling to find people who wore their hair naturally, Michael noticed "a Renaissance period, particularly in Brooklyn." He notes that in the last three years, there's been a transition towards embracing natural hair — which we love.
In accordance with the book's theme, July tried to do as minimal retouching and Photoshopping as possible, shooting his subjects in their au naturel state. Through his glorious book and exhibit, July proves that anyone can get funky with a 'fro, regardless of ethnicity, age, or location.
The Afro's comeback: Once a trend, natural hair is now a part of culture
It’s Hollywood-approved, and easy to wear. Big, bold natural Afros are a reflection of today’s culture, experts say. A new book, “Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair” gives props to people who’ve grown sick of chemical relaxers and damaging extensions, and let their hair grow big and tall.
- The New York Daily News