🎶e calls herself the 'Hair McGyver". She gives us life. She's a WHOLE force.
Nikki Nelms is the woman behind numerous memorable hair looks as seen on your favorite A-list stars in music and Hollywood. From the gorgeous hairstyles Solange wore at her wedding and in her A Seat at the Table project, to Janelle Monáe and Zoë Kravitz‘s stunning Met Gala hairdos, and to Yara Shahidi‘s many red carpet looks, Nelms has worked her magic on some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
She's unapologetic in her expression of black culture. She pushes every single narrative forward... creates and minds her business. We STAN her work ethic, and realness:
When asked about challenging herself and always rising to any occasion, she says:
"I just try not to overthink things and since no two moments are ever the same, I tend to get my inspiration from the moment. Plus I’m always nervous — when I’m nervous, I feel like my prayers to God are next level because I’m literally begging Him for wisdom and understanding.""
When asked about the qualities it takes to be a hairstylist, she says:
"It’s important to recognize and protect what makes you different. It’s so easy to be so consumed with what everyone else has going on nowadays that you forget about what you bring to the table. My grandma always reminds me to “remember what your name is.”
REASONS WHY WE CELEBRATE AND SPEAK ABOUT BLACK HAIR
Black people have been suspended from school and have been barred from employment due to their hair texture.
There's a bond:
A black little girl getting her hair done by her mother, grandmother, or auntie.
The personal hair journey:
It’s important to know that whether a person decides to wear their natural curly hair or chooses to use relaxers, there is no wrong style.
Families carry on traditions:
Though black people (during slavery) were deprived of literacy and their families were constantly being separated, making it more difficult to accumulate generational information, certain skills and lessons could be passed down verbally and by hand, including how to care for and style black hair.
Hair styling represents freedom and value:
When black people were enslaved, they were made to feel less than human. When slavery was abolished, black people were finally able to present themselves in a way that made them feel valuable.
Representation in the media:
Throughout the course of history, celebrity role models that represented the many arrays of African American skin tones and hair types were scarce, making it more difficult for black children and adults to feel valued and included in a world they didn’t see themselves in.
At one time, “whites only” signs banned African Americans from using the same facilities as white people, but black people figured out ways to create environments that encouraged community. Specifically, the black hair industry created spaces, like beauty stores, salons, and barbershops, where black people could come together, learn from one another, and share laughs.
Throughout history, in order to cater to the countless distinctive curl patterns and different textures of black hair, a variety of products had to be developed by black inventors and entrepreneurs
The versatility of black hair is so great that it has even been used as symbols of political and religious affiliation. During the civil rights movement, some Black Panthers sported large Afros as a statement of pride. Members of the Rastafarian religion are known for growing their hair into dreadlocks, although today most African Americans with locs aren’t Rastas.
Black people have used creative thinking to do everything from organizing the underground railroad to creating fine art. As an exercise of expression, there has always been the task of waking up to a head of hair that has endless possibilities.
The mark of icons
Legends like Diana Ross and Beyoncé are known for their trademark big hair, but they aren’t the only black celebrities with superstar strands. Locs are one-of-a-kind, no matter who wears them, but Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Marley, and Jean-Michel Basquiat are examples of how one style can accurately reflect such extremely different talents, even becoming a part of their public identity and image.
Unity and empowerment
As much as the uniqueness of black hair can be magnified by a society largely based on European traditions, having hair that links back to the resilience and strength exhibited by extremely oppressed people can be empowering.
Inspiring the future
The endless variety of black hairdos is a nonstop experiment for most. With the ability to manipulate hair into unfathomable formations, there’s still no telling how black hair will impact the world. If history has proven anything, it’s not to underestimate any tool of progression. Black hair has already been a catalyst for passing down cultural information, inspiring creation, and cementing identities.
🎧 LISTEN to: Buddy ft ASAP Ferg - BLACK
Black, black, black, black on black
Black, my thoughts so black
Black, black, I'm black
My skin is so black, I'm rockin' that black on black.