Goapele's Natural Hair Interview With Essence Magazine

By . - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

By: Nicole Marie Melton
ESSENCE: How are you wearing your hair now?
GOAPELE: I'm going back natural now. Now I've tried dreads, I was flat ironing my hair and trying all different kinds of styles and it was fun doing up-does and pony tails and trying different kinds of styles that I couldn't do before and then I just felt like I was ready for a change again and that happens to me every now and then after I feel like I've done everything I can and now I'm ready for a change again. Also my hair was feeling like it wasn't as healthy when I flat ironed it all the time. I wanted it to be back to a state where it felt like it was thriving so I think that my hair's happiest natural and there's that hairstyle for everyone where you feel like my hair is agreeing with this, so I just cut it off recently again and I'm going back natural. I also wanted something funky that didn't feel too conservative, where I could still have my personality in it.

ESSENCE: What would you say is a part of your hair story or a turning point in your hair?
GOAPELE: My hair story has been unique because my mom's a German/ Jew so her hair is way different than my hair so she was learning on my hair growing up, but I would sit there for hours and she did learn how to braid hair. Early on it was a lot of tears while my mom was braiding my hair like I think most women can relate to when they were growing up. It was a lot of arguing and tears but I always love when I can look back at those pictures and my hair was tight. I can also look back at photos where my hair was wild because I was a mixed chick and mixed chicks can relate too if their hair was different than their moms. Some days it might have been looking a little out of control and that's one of those things I look back and think some days I think how did you have me looking like this and to her she was like I didn't even realize there was anything wrong with it. I just think you're beautiful and you were doing your thing. Until I started doing my hair or finding those consistent people who were doing my hair as a kid it was a little rocky. There are some parents who always have their daughter's hair whipped, mine wasn't always like that but I appreciate that both my parents were into me having natural hair so they did find Anota Scott, who I was going to for my cornrows and wrapping last year and a couple years before that. She used to do my hair when I was 10 years old in those wild, beautiful, traditional African styles and it was nice to come back full circle to her after I had had dreads and tried different things.

ESSENCE: In all your different hair phases, was there an emotional connection to your hair?
GOAPELE: I definitely feel an emotional connection to my hair just in terms of when I'm feeling good about my hair I'm feeling good about myself and when I feel better looking in the mirror it makes me feel more uplifted or more insecure. I feel like what that image has been has shifted in different ways and that's probably why I'm always changing because I start getting bored and I don't like feeling locked into anything or like people are connecting with an image that I have to uphold forever. I like to feel like people are growing with me, but for a long time I loved having locks. It's always liberating to feel like I'm changing my hair but people are supporting that. It feels good when people say that's beautiful because you feel appreciated and that's how I like to be in my music too. I like to feel like I'm really expressing myself and when people embrace it, it feels like an authentic connection.

ESSENCE: Do you have any memorable highlights from when you were wearing the braids?
GOAPELE: When I have my hair natural I feel like I'm reflecting other women who have natural hair out there but I'm happy when I see women even with straight hair who are like you're inspiring me to be bold and cut my hair off and try something totally new, or when I've worn my hair straight, other women with natural hair I felt like I couldn't go there because it almost turns into a political stance. When we're wearing our hair natural it feels like we're championing in a certain way that we can't let down our guard so I was showing that you can just do anything you want to do when you feel like doing it. So relating to different women and seeing myself reflected and being inspired by other people's hair dos is what I take from it.

ESSENCE: Was there ever a connection between your hair and your music?
GOAPELE: When I first stopped braiding my hair a little over a year ago and was wearing it straight, it was to do a "Tears on My Pillow" video. It was a song that had an old school feel and I wanted a retro look in the video so I couldn't picture any braided style that would look like that and that was my original motivation. I thought, I'm just going to have to go with it for this video. Preceding that, I was in Sparkle and they had all us wear these crazy wings with these beehive up dos and so I looked in the mirror shocked and I said 'why not, I could go for that too.' So I think that's what originally inspired me to go for it and was just going to be temporary and then I ended up rocking the style for longer than I expected to.

ESSENCE: How many years did you wear the locs and the cornrows?
GOAPELE: I wore locs for 9 or 10 years and cornrows for a couple of years.

ESSENCE: What would you say your hair mantra would be today?
GOAPELE: My hair mantra is do you and liberation. Liberation is always my hair mantra because it's always scary to try something new and then I always feel free when I do.

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Have a Good Hair Day and remember to Love Your Hair!!!

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