If you've seen the term Afro Boho or Afro Bohemian, and thought to yourself..."what the heck is Afro Boho?"...then this is blog post is for you. lol I'm betting there is a good chance that once I've explained the history and context of it, a family member (or even YOU) will pop in your mind as having this aesthetic in their home and/or in their closet.
Lets break down the 2 terms:
Afro (Short for African)- African influence through art, fashion or ethnicity
Bohemian: Origin of the word refers to refugees, travelers, roamers. (although it's now identified as a slur "Gypsies"...is another term used for bohemianism. In a nutshell, bohemianism is a counter culture to whatever is trending in society. It's the intention of being free to be who you are. It's to value nature over things.
Afro-Bohemianism is a lifestyle aesthetic that combines a balance of natural elements (wood, plants, fur, etc) with African prints, symbols, and other artifacts. Some other terms: Afro Bohemien or boheme. However, the aesthetic is the same.
Afro Bohemian style peaked in the 1960's with the emergence of African Americans interest in the African Diaspora and access to travel. Celebrities such as Malcom X, Bob Marley, Richard Pryor, and Michael Jackson...over several decades from the 60's to the 1980's visited Africa and came back with a different view of the world and brought back vivid depictions of their experiences to black people in America. There was a connection, and renewed pride that resulted from these visits to the motherland, as our people watched documentaries, listened to performances and speeches by leaders, artists and comedians. This was at a time when segregation and racial inequality was at an all time high.
African Americans pride was shown in the form of dashiki's, natural afros, black beret's, afro picks and man other symbols and African artifacts to embrace their blackness.
Afro Boho style has lasted well after the 1960's in various pockets of the U.S and in other communities around the world. Artifacts such as African masks, adinkra symbol jewelry, mudcloth textiles, and bold handmade baskets has become staples in homes from the U.S to London to Australia. The irony of this is....although bohemianism originated as a small group of people, a subculture of outcasts and refugees, it has become a mainstream way of living for so many.
Welcome to the sisterhood. Welcome to the evolution.