Recently we were able to catch up with Q-Benjamin! Q is a Juno Award winning recording artist in Toronto, Canada and has been an avid supporter (and user!) of Curl Keeper Styling products. We were so happy and humbled to have her share her very personal feelings as an artist with curly hair in the music industry. Q has recently released her newest EP called QUEST where she digs deep and reveals much about her ongoing journey and experiences that have reshaped some of her perspectives. One of her favorite products to use when she goes natural is Curl Keeper Styling Cream, which enhances and reveals her stunning curls in a way that would make any curly girl proud! Read on to see how she feels about wearing her natural curly hair in an industry that is very focused on self-promotion!
Being a mixed female in the music industry, I’ve received pressure and negative comments alike with regard to my natural curls. “Natural hair pride” so to speak, has emerged as something of a mainstream trend (especially within the music industry over the years). With more women in music rocking their natural curls, it translates as confidence and the embracing of the natural self and for many, the embracing of blackness.
Natural curls first emerged over the past few years as something of a trend, but as time goes on, it has proven to be a longstanding, proud expression of natural hair. From my perspective, it sends out a positive message that encourages many other young females to do the same: to embrace their natural hair and natural beauty. A big issue with curly hair has always been representation within the mainstream. The result of this, is being force fed European/Western ideals of beauty, which have proved marginalized and stifled expressions of curly haired (and racialized) women. Growing up, the only female who was inspiring me to rock my natural curl was Mel B from Spice Girls. Today, as far as representation goes, there are a few more than one token curly-haired woman in the music mainstream projecting a positive hair image. Fortunately, the number seems to be increasing. I feel like this is important for myself as an artist, as well as other females in music with curly hair and all of those young girls/women that are watching the entertainment world.
Personally, I have no problem admitting that apart from manageability concerns, I’m still slowly transitioning to getting used to wearing my natural hair more frequently. Growing up, the cultural and social stigmas surrounding my hair stifled my self-esteem and hair image (if this isn’t a thing, it should be- like body image, but for hair). I went through phases where I did nothing but straighten my hair all the time, eventually texturizing it at 14, until it grew dry and brittle and began breaking off. As a result, my priority became healthy, natural hair. It took me 4 years (and lots of work and curl research!) to grow a full head of natural, healthy hair from processed breakage. Needless to say, I’m proud of myself for making that decision and following through. I recently shot a short teaser music video and had a photo-shoot featuring my natural curls for the first time, and it was SO liberating.
I hope that the next generation is able to get past social stigmas surrounding curly hair and that they don’t resort to damaging their natural hair in order to conform and/or fit unrealistic and one-sided standards of beauty. I believe we still have more progress to make with the social (and cultural) acceptance of curly hair, both from society and the ability to accept it ourselves. Hair adds to one’s image, just like an outfit, or any accessory does. It can reflect one’s individuality and be an extension of the self, like style. It’s important to note that straightened hair isn’t always equated to lack of confidence for curly hair, but sometimes manageability concerns or lack of knowledge on products for curls. I think in time, more and more women in music will be more comfortable to show off natural curls. I hope this natural hair pride will spread to curly and non-curly observers. Who knows, maybe we’ll even inspire perms to come back like the 80s! Just kidding.