On the Couch With Kwanza Jones

. May 24, 2010

Kwanza Jones hype magazine featured image

Source: Curly Nikki

Kwanza Jones captivates listeners by singing melodies and belting rock-laced hooks that riddle with emotion, reality lyrics and heart thumping beats. By resume standards, she has done it all. Releasing two full albums (Naked and Naked 2: Universal Fire), an EP (Victim of the System), and her latest single “Everything Around You” which is the prelude to her newest album, Supercharged! Add a degree from Princeton, charismatic presence, and songwriting/arranging credits, and she will undoubtedly secure a place in the ever-evolving indie musical landscape! Plus… she’s a fellow natural!

On her hair story…

Wow… let me tell you, it’s a page-turning novel! I’ve gone from high maintenance (blow drying/curling/flat ironing everyday) to low maintenance (braids/twists) to press and curl to relaxers to wash and go naturally curly, to hair cuts that have had me in tears when I left the salon. In a word my Hair Story is like many… it’s a never-ending drama but it’s turning into a love story.
What has come with the changes in styles has been a better understanding about what works for me and what doesn’t. Most importantly, I’ve learned hair is personal, VERY personal. It’s up to each individual to define, for themselves, what works best. In essence, it takes courage to experiment and to find styles that work with your lifestyle; education to see what is best for your hair health; and, communication, if you’re working with a stylist, because just as not all relationships are good for you, not all stylists are either.

On embracing her curls…

I’ve always liked my curls. I didn’t really have a choice. Growing up, my parents wouldn’t let me or my sisters get relaxers or any other chemical treatments so we embraced our natural hair. What I didn’t like was all the effort that was required to find products to maintain my curls. There is no one-size fits all formula. Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to find the best products for your hair type. I went through a period of exclusively wearing my hair “wash and go”. In other words, I’d shampoo it, put in some leave in conditioner add a little bit of gel (or a lot depending on the mood my hair was in) and go about my day. Naturally my hair is very curly. Growing up people would say “you have good hair” and they would think it was easy for me to maintain. It would irk me whenever I heard that. All hair requires maintenance regardless of type. It’s ridiculous when you think about it. HAIR is HAIR. It’s not good or bad. Instead, it’s varying degrees of curly, wavy or straight. Buying into the notion that certain hair textures are better than others does nothing but skew your sense of self-worth. Embracing your natural hair is a way to remain connected to yourself.

On her current routine…

Given how active my lifestyle is (with travel, performances and working out daily), I need a hair routine that is very low maintenance. I used to take about 30 minutes to do my hair every morning. Now, It takes me about 3. I wake up, work out (usually with a scarf on my head), shower (with a very large shower cap) add a little Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum to smooth and add shine, then I start my day. I make sure I wrap my hair at night, that makes it easier to maintain and I get my hair twisted every 3 – 4 weeks. If I wait longer than that my hair starts to dread. The great thing about twists is that I’m able style my hair in all sorts of different looks from up-dos to pulled back pony tails. Sometimes I’ll wear the twist-out look, which I’m able to achieve if I wash my hair and put gel in it.

On her staple hair styles…

For now my staple hair style is my signature two-toned twists. With my hair, I usually go in phases. I’ll like one style and wear it for a while then I get tired of it and am ready for a change. My hair is pretty long so I rarely add hair for length but at times I’ll add hair for color. It keeps things fun and fresh and it’s less damaging on my hair. I’m thinking of trying out some of the clip-on pieces in purple/blue/burgundy.

Must have products…

For hair: Keyto Ultra Amazing Gel, and Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream
For skin: Alba Sea Plus Renewal Cream
For makeup: Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Washable Mascara, and Revlon ColorStay 12 Hour Eye Shadow Nude Elements

On being naturally curly…

You know the feeling you get when you’ve been running around all day and you finally get home, sit down and take your shoes off? That’s how it feels being naturally curly. It’s a feeling of freedom and comfort… that’s the best thing.

On current projects and music…

My songs are conversation starters. My upcoming album, “Supercharged!” is like a go-to-guide for how to deal with different things that happen in relationships. Not a Breakup Song is the latest single that’s out. It’s the follow-up to Everything Around You (a song that touched on realizing when you’re not happy in a relationship and what comes next).

Also, I’ve been cast in a movie that will be filming in the Cayman Islands. And, I’m preparing for a series of concerts that I’ll be giving to benefit the Girls Are Not for Sale Campaign, a project of the anti-sex trafficking organization GEMS (Girls Education and Mentoring Service).

Catch up with Kwanza Jones on her website

Hair: Kito Jones of Lavish Hair Spa
Makeup: Melissa Anchondo
Photographer: Donnell Spencer Jr.