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The Afro Is Back

A return to what is considered "natural" hair for African-American women is also showing up on Europe's top fashion runways. The afro used to be a political statement, today it's more likely a fashion statement.

Back to your (hair) roots? From activist Angela Davis to singer Erykah Badu (Bundesarchiv/Yancho Sabev)
Back to your (hair) roots? From activist Angela Davis to singer Erykah Badu (Bundesarchiv/Yancho Sabev)
Albertine Bourget

Solange Knowles is a DJ, singer, composer --and a mother. She is also Beyoncé"s sister. But lately the public has only been interested in one thing: her hair. The 26-year-old decided to start keeping her hair natural, Afro-style, rather than straightening it. It's a "transition" --that's the term used by African-Americans-- that she talked about on Oprah Winfrey's show. Since then she has become the ambassador of the "transitioning movement" for a range of beauty products for natural-style hair.

African-American women have long tried to erase their blackness. They abandoned the plaits and the braids that reminded them of the years of segregation and adopted straight, permed blow-dried hair. A flourishing cosmetics industry developed around the treatment of black hair. The return to a more natural hairdo is therefore welcomed with fascination. The topic is debated on media outlets geared towards the African-American community, with explanatory YouTube videos on how to progressively revert to your natural hair.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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