Perfectly spherical or haphazardly freeform, TWA or big enough to block out the sun. Coily, curly, kinky, zig-zaggy, fabulous and beautiful natural hair is EVERYWHERE. When that Simon Doonan piece about afros being a trend came out, it only made me laugh. Afros never ever really went away, and now they’re more popular than ever! Natural hair is celebrated all over the internet, and now photographer Michael July is sharing some of his most stunning natural hair photos in his book, AFROS: A Celebration of Natural Hair.  Behold.

AFROS Book Cover


These images are glorious. Lush.

AFROS Model 3


They are different and fresh.

AFROS model 1

They are beautiful.

AFROS Model 7

Although mainstream media persists in labeling natural hair a “trend,” (see this NY Mag piece on Michael July for more of that typical afro-as-trend talk), that’s not what AFROS is about.

“I was inspired to photograph and create the book because I was influenced by the greatness of my heroes who wore their hair natural in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, as well as the men and women who proudly do so in our communities today. Natural hair represents versatility, beauty and self-pride. I’m honored by the overwhelming response that “AFROS: A Celebration of Natural Hair” is receiving and hope it continues to inspire for years and years to come!” says Michael July.

I haven’t yet thumbed the pages, but I’ve seen many of July’s images, and I’m loving everything about this book so far. It’s truly a project about the people, supported by the people – this book gained support and steam via Kickstarter, many of you might remember. And now everything’s coming to beautiful fruition. The official AFROS book release event takes place tomorrow, July 26th in NYC. The book will be available for sale via Amazon in August – stay tuned for an exact date! And even though we won’t be able to attend the sure-to-be-fabulous event in NYC, we can still celebrate the gloriousness of this book right here on Afrobella.

I’m giving away (1) autographed copy of AFROS: A Celebration of Natural Hair by Michael July. It’s 450 pages of natural hair power in a beautiful coffee table book format!

How can you enter, how can you win?

#1 – you have to live within the United States.

#2 – you have to leave a comment on this post, about your own afro. What do you celebrate about your afro?

A winner will be chosen at random and I’ll close these comments next Wednesday. Happy Friday, bellas!


Lisa says:
July 26, 2013, 6:35 am
So happy this book is out. I donated on Kickstarter. I love, love, love my afro. I love that it shows off my face and eyes. I love that it's BIG (some days) I love that it's free and wild and easy and since my son is also rocking an afro, I love that it immediately identifies me as his mom when I walk into a room to get him.
Denise W. Barreto says:
July 26, 2013, 6:35 am
My afro's theme song is "Leave Me Alone" and she rocks out in all different shades of brown and bright auburn. I celebrate her independence and freedom from contraints of any kind. I have been carefully crafting her since 2008 and I would not go back! I love this book and supported it on Kickstarter a long while ago! Glad to see it in publication and getting pubs! Thanks Afrobella!
Denise W. Barreto says:
July 26, 2013, 6:37 am
Love the comment about the son - same deal here. Have a great day!
Denise K. Williams says:
July 26, 2013, 6:41 am
I've been natural since 2001!!! I love my afro!! I usually wear it in a puff/bun. I've had my hair cut in a tight afro in May of this year but it grows so fast that I would have to get it cut every two months. It's crazy and does what it wants.
Temaka W. says:
July 26, 2013, 6:46 am
Wearing my afro is my way of defying gravity and being nonconforming... It's a true representation of the beauty that God blessed me with. Afro= a celebration of me!
Shon says:
July 26, 2013, 7:17 am
My afro started out as a way to save money while I was finishing my degree, it has now become my favorite thing about me! Its been a conversation starter and a way to connect and build relationships with other curly haired women in my community. I <3 My 'Fro :)
Jesus-in-the-City says:
July 26, 2013, 7:36 am
I like my Afro because its the divine, creative plan my Creator, God, had for my beauty from before time. That's the number one memory that helps me embrace it :)
JL says:
July 26, 2013, 7:47 am
I love how my afro makes me feel. I feel like my exterior is an exact representation of my personality. It literally gives me life!
tiffany says:
July 26, 2013, 8:01 am
Wearing my afro is a way to show I'm proud and happy being me. I let it do its own thing with no manipulation and its lets me proudly show it off. Its a statement.
RavenArcher says:
July 26, 2013, 8:12 am
My afro is the perfect culmination of my personality and full embracement of my hair texture. While many naturals craze over curl definition, a big undefined afro lets my clump-less 4c pen spring coils just be what they are as they are meant to be, like I try to be.
LaQueshia says:
July 26, 2013, 9:38 am
I love that my 'fro has a mind of its own. Kinda like me.
pets says:
July 26, 2013, 9:52 am
I don't live in USA but I do remember having a big curly afro in my teens. Will hunt down that picture and email to you for a smile.
grw5459 says:
July 26, 2013, 10:23 am
I celebrate my afro (small, but mighty) because it is a reflection of my proud heritage. I celebrate my afro because it allows me the freedom to be myself; unencumbered. I celebrate my afro because it is God-given hair and I love it!
Zara Willis says:
July 26, 2013, 10:25 am
I live in the US and I celebrate my pretty natural afro by adorning it with sparkly headbands and clips. The sparkles always help draw attention to the beauty that is my natural hair. Thanks for the giveaway.
Terrea Mitchell says:
July 26, 2013, 11:06 am
My Afro, Natural blond/blind, Straight kink front, Mid coil slide top and sides, All African tight coil in the back. It flops, it drops and it shrinks.
Michelle P says:
July 26, 2013, 11:11 am
I rock it with headbands, flowers and sparkly clips. :)
Alex R says:
July 26, 2013, 11:14 am
I love all the random textures in my afro and its versatility for styling.
Leah says:
July 26, 2013, 11:52 am
I would love to see/win this book. It is so important to my family to display images of "us" throughout our home. I celebrate my afro's diverse texture, which ranges from tightly coiled to loosely curled. I love it!!
Tawanda says:
July 26, 2013, 12:06 pm
I went natural so that I could no longer use my hair as an excuse for not being fit and healthy. Every time I look into the gym mirrors with my glorious puff on top of my head and the slimmER (notice I didn't say slim lol) more toned body beneath it I feel proud and pretty.
Sheena says:
July 26, 2013, 12:25 pm
I absolutely hated afros as a child. I remember crying myself into an Asthma attack when I was about 4 years old because my mom put my hair in Afro puffs. I don’t know what it was about fluffy hair that created such a visceral reaction, but today this strong Black woman can say with pride, I “rock rough and stuff with my Afro puffs.” LOL. I love my natural hair with its unpredictable shape and contour--some days it's full and statuesque, other days it's awkward and gangly. Either way, I love the way my hair loves me. LOL
Bridgett Lee says:
July 26, 2013, 1:23 pm
Hey! I think that it is just awesome to see someone like Michael July create a piece of photographic literature that elevates, promotes, and presents the beauty of the Afro. The book has beautiful photography, beautiful people, and shows that anybody can rock an Afro. I was born in 73' with an awesome Afro. Now turning 40, I am rocking a teeny weeny curly Afro and girl it looks good! So thanks for talking about Michael's book, I hope everyone buys it (I know I will) and I wish I could be there at the book signing.
Sherry says:
July 26, 2013, 2:21 pm
I love my afro because it is the essence of who i am. It's wonderful to be trendy and fashionable according to Hollywood standards if that's your thing, but being a nubian queen/princess is uncompromisingly beautiful. It is unextinguishable! It is exquisite. It is bodacious. It is simply sensual and exotic. I love my hair because of how it makes me feel. It brings the world closer and the texture of life more clearer in my vision. Let's celebrate our blackness by being REAL afro-centric in our thinking and our liberation of our people!
indieblack says:
July 26, 2013, 4:10 pm
I celebrate my afro everyday! I have been wearing my hair natural off and on for 20+ years, and it has taken me that long to find sources/products to help me take care of my hair. Thank goodness my hair no longer looks like a bird's nest!! I look like a rock star without even trying.
LaLa says:
July 26, 2013, 5:09 pm
So cool! I was at the Indy Black Expo this past weekend and the author of this book was there selling these!!! I love the freedom of my fro... whether I pick it out or wear it curly as a result of a day-old wash n go!!!
Mia F says:
July 26, 2013, 5:18 pm
I enjoy the uniqueness and versatility of my afro-textured hair.
Brandon Allen says:
July 26, 2013, 6:26 pm
We are a hair salon in Gold Coast Chicago. One of our specialities are natural hair. We introduced trissola into the midwest which is a smoothing treatment. It promotes shine, strength, and it also eliminates frizz. We would love for you to blog about us to the followers. This treatment is amazing. It could be customized to each client. We can control how much curl pattern is left for the client to manage. You can shower the same day and not have to worry about the treatment not lasting as long. our website is and our phone number is 312-600-9518
dgh says:
July 26, 2013, 8:59 pm
ODE TO THE 'FRO (O)ften imitated, never duplicated - my beauty is…(R)unning my fingers through my hair, roots to ends, makes me smile…(I) choose to let Mother Nature style my hair…(G)irls like me need hair to balance hips…(I)'m working with what I got…(N)appily-natural moves me nearer-my-God-to-thee…(A)ll curls are not created equal - super coily is my style…(L)oving my 'fro lets me know less is more…an ORIGINAL, that’s me.
Christina McKenzie says:
July 26, 2013, 9:51 pm
My fro is versatile and is my crown of glory that shines vibrantly and forces people to acknowledge my presence.
Shawn says:
July 27, 2013, 8:48 am
I love my TWA because it was a way to make me live a healthier life. I cut it all off to be my motivation to lose weight and it is working. I dyed my hair red and haven't looked back since. I feel sexier and more confident about my look.
Marcie Thomas says:
July 27, 2013, 9:27 am
I love my Afro because it represents the best of who I am: It is bold, it is colorful, it is a conversation-starter, it is unique, it is sometimes unruly, it is a strong representation of the women who came before me and it is lovely, strictly by its design.
Musu says:
July 27, 2013, 11:35 am
I love my afro's defiance: it makes for an interesting natural hair experience. The days when I'm trying the hardest to avoid shrinkage and it happens sometimes turn out to be my best hair days. How many other hair textures can do that?
sandy says:
July 27, 2013, 3:03 pm
I can twist and "out", I can braid and "out" but my hair whispers and huffs and puffs at the sink or in the shower: My name is: Afro... and I'm yours.
Krystal Grant says:
July 27, 2013, 8:31 pm
I want to go natural. I'm sick of relaxers, absolutely sick of them. I thought about going natural this summer, but I punked out. I got scared. One day I'm gonna do it...just chop off all my hair and be free!
Megan Sims says:
July 28, 2013, 12:01 am
This book is great! I have an afro myself and I was inspired by the Black Panthers to do so. When I wear my afro I feel like I'm back in the '70s (though I was born int he '90s) and it brings out the revolutionary in me! #AllHaleTheFro!
SRCW says:
July 28, 2013, 12:11 pm
It started as a way to help with workout hair. Now I'm in love with it. It's easy, glamorous and oh so sexy. My TWA is here to stay.
Tiffany Shawn says:
July 28, 2013, 5:50 pm
I love my afro because it allows me to have a TWA even though my hair can be stretched to my shoulders.
Alicia says:
July 29, 2013, 11:24 am
I love my afro because it is so versatile, always appropriate, and makes me feel so good about myself.
Sharika Mahdi says:
July 29, 2013, 11:28 am
I absolutely love this book! I was staying at a friend's house and noticed it on the bookshelf. I could not put it down! Beautiful! Each page is a work of art!!! I'm so proud to wear my Afro!
Stephanie Mc says:
July 29, 2013, 4:02 pm
I love that my hair is so diverse, but when I wear out my afro, I feel more in tune with myself and my peers ethnically, historically, and politically. It is as though my thoughts and deamenor are expanded as a result of my afro. I make it a point to exault compliments on individuals I see around town wearing their afro. I also like to show my daughter the beauty of her tresses by setting a visual example for her.
Candace Spencer says:
July 29, 2013, 8:00 pm
I love that I can let my fro just go free. It doesn't have to be perfectly styled or picked out. I can take my twists out, undo my braids, or take off my scarf and let it just be. It doesn't have to be anything but what it is and no one can tell me that it's wrong. It's my fro and that's how it is :-)
April says:
July 29, 2013, 8:31 pm
I love my hair...I love that I can rock an afro one day and an afro puff the next day. Versatility...
Roy Pickering says:
July 30, 2013, 8:10 am
I had a pretty fantastic afro back in the day. Nowadays I wear usually my hair close cropped but my 7 y/o daughter has hair for days. Here's an illustration my wife did based on a photo (which is also shown) of our little, defiant, puffy haired princess -
Simone says:
July 30, 2013, 4:36 pm
Until recently, I was uneasy about my afro. But now I realize that she is fierce, fabulous and has become my pride and joy. I love her! (p.s her name Peggy)
Pets says:
July 30, 2013, 6:44 pm
On a connected note what about moisture and conditioner for Afros?
Patricia says:
July 31, 2013, 5:45 pm
My afro changed my life and brought me closer to myself!
Qher says:
August 1, 2013, 1:06 pm is going bigger and better!! Don't miss the launch of TNC 3.0! it's all about expressing YOU! Join the revolution 08|05|13 follow @thenakedconvos on twitter, instagram and facebook for updates!
Nikki says:
August 2, 2013, 12:35 pm
My Afro wild & free kinky, coily, frizzy My Afro wouldn't change anything about it My Afro my history my roots its me I love when people see my fro they can't wait to big chop or help them decide to go natural. I love that wearing my fro lets my grandmothers know that I don't only have to wear it braided.
Debbie says:
August 3, 2013, 4:30 am
I wore a large AFRO back in the day,and I am so happy to to see more sistas embracing their natural hair. BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!!
dgh says:
August 6, 2013, 8:56 am
Even Oprah can't resist...
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