Green’s Dictionary of Slang

afro n.

also ’fro

1. (orig. US black) a black hairstyle in which normally short, curly black hair is allowed to grow out in a bush around the head, supposedly in the style of one’s African forebears; also occas. used of white people’s hair; thus afro-style, having an afro hairstyle.

[US]Current Sl. I:4 1/1: Afro-style, adj. Very long (said of the hair of Negro males).
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 127: Hairstyles turned Afro.
[US]Current Sl. V:2 7: ’Fro, n. An Afro hair style.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 55: Young cat, reddish-brown hair, big ’Fro.
[US] Frank Zappa ‘Uncle Remus’ [lyrics] I can’t wait till my Fro is full-grown.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 205: Running his hand through his large Afro at the thought of wealth.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 141: Both males and females admired an attractive person with a ‘fonky’ [...] ’fro.
[US]A.K. Shulman On the Stroll 267: His medium-length Afro that grew low on his brow and merged with a trim, pointed beard gave him a fierce look.
[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 38/1: Back in the days, Sly wore a big-ass fro.
[US]Newsday 7 Nov. G14: Ramirez, toward the upper left corner of the grouping with his beige skin and thick Afro, is impossible to miss.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 188: You got any of him when he was dark-skinned and had a nose and ’fro?
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 8: A Negrita with thigh-high boots, hothothotpants, a mushroomcloud Afro.
[UK]Guardian G2 5 Oct. 27: The other brats hadn’t even seen a black ’fro, let alone a blond one.
[UK]D.S. Mitchell Killer Tune (2008) 14: ‘What you call that masquerading on your head?’ [...] ‘This is an Afro, also known as a ’fro’.
[SA]Sun. Times (S. Afr.) 27 Jan. 21: She too sported a jazzy Afro.
[UK]Observer New Review 12/2: She is tall and with a Medusa afro.
[US]G. Pelecanos (con. 1972) What It Was 58: Artis Gilmore got a big ’Fro, too.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 6: Any business-suit-wearing, cornrowed, dreadlocked, corporate Afro’d black man.
[UK]A. Wheatle Crongton Knights 17: His fro wasn’t looking as neat as mine.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]C. Himes ‘Pork Chop Paradise’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 264: Platinum blonde hair puffed up atop her head in an Afro plume.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Last of the High Kings 71: A frog-faced boy with a thick Afro hairstyle.
[UK]Guardian Guide 26 June–2 July 26: Don loud check suits and Afro wigs.

3. an English or American person of African descent, a black.

Lovin’ Sam Theard ‘That Rhythm Gal’ [lyrics] And when she promenade in them Sunday clothes / She tantalize those Afro gigolos.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 42: I clean up the floor after him and his little Afro friend.
[US]I.L. Allen Lang. of Ethnic Conflict 48: Allusions to African Origins: afro.