Do You Know the Fro?
There once was a kid, and that kid had a dream. A dream to be known across the Penn State campus as Afro-man. (Not to be confused with the rapper.) Not really — for junior Tanner Beck, becoming Afro-man kind of just happened. “When I was in 6th grade I just kind of let it go. It’s been a long time,” said Beck.
Years after embracing the fro and several sticky gum catastrophes later, Beck is learning to embrace the pseudo-fame that comes with having the biggest afro on campus. “I get it all,” he says, “Afro kid, Fro-man, Sideshow Bob—if you watch The Simpsons. Older people call me Garfunkel. I get that one a lot.”
It doesn’t matter what they call him, but people always remember Beck for his afro. “People always come up and apparently I’ve met them, but it’s hard to keep track,” he said.
Being the center of attention has its perks. Free drinks at bars are always welcome, but it requires some upkeep. “Before I was 21 and went to frat parties a lot I’d walk in and have to take 20 pictures with people. I wonder how many people’s Facebooks I’m on.”
Beck, a double major in international politics and criminology, found out early that he gets the most attention in class — from people behind him saying that they can’t see. “I just sit in the back row now because people complain,” he said. “The teachers call me out on it sometimes. They tend to remember my name more than anybody else.”
For that reason, Beck isn’t sure how much longer the fro will last. With plans to go to law school, the issue is pretty open. “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep it through that or not. Who knows?” Beck said.
Despite the recognition around campus, Afro-man is missing the one thing that makes you a Penn State celebrity: a Twitter account. Despite Boombox Guy , yes that Boombox Guy, encouraging him to get online, Beck is hesitant. “He was trying to egg me into getting a Twitter page, but I haven’t done it. It’s mysterious,” he said.
“I like to fly under the radar,” says the guy with the biggest afro on campus.