Chrisette Michele: “I Was Told You Can’t Be High-Fashion With Nappy Hair”

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Necole Bitchie got the chance to speak with Chrisette Michele about her recent decision to go all-natural with her hair (Why Did Chrisette Michele Shave Her Head?)

You revealed your new hairstyle at a show at Albany State University, right?
I didn’t really plan to reveal it. I was at a show and I had a hat on so when I went backstage there was a bunch of kids with cameras. They saw the front of my head and since it was so light blond and close to my skin complexion they made headlines that I had shaved my head bald. I was a bit disappointed. I did cut my hair off. It’s a quarter inch. It’s not shaven but I was so over the hair damage and everything I was dealing with having the other hair style so I said that I was going to go back natural.

When I posted your photos, one comment in particular said that “Women who have natural hair look down on women who prefer to relax their hair because they secretly hate their own hair.” It was like a battle between those who prefer natural hair and those who prefer relaxed hair.
It’s so interesting to me because my thing is I always want to bring unity. For me it’ll never be a battle between a natural sister and a relaxed sister. It’ll always be what’s best for you and what’s best for me is having the healthiest hair possible. I’m a girl who has always had healthy hair and getting into the music industry has ruined my hair care regimen because you have to be on 10 all the time. So the easiest way for me to be on 10 is to be on 10 naturally.

VIDEO: Behind The Scenes Of Chrisette Michele’s “Fragile”

Someone made the comment that shaving her hair off was the most liberating experience she has had as a woman. Do you feel the same way?
It definitely was liberating because people told me that my style; who I am as a musician, who I am as a person, and who I am as a body type would never fly in this industry. 1) because I’m too thick 2) because my hair was nappy 3) because I wasn’t singing about what everyone else was singing about. I am not interested in really selling sex, that’s not really my brand so I’ve faced a lot of challenges so far and wanting to go natural for 6-7 months now was a challenge. People that I asked (not from my label) was like “You can’t do that. That doesn’t match fashion. You can’t be high-fashion with nappy hair.”

I feel at times we use our hair as a security blanket. The longer my hair is or the “bigger” I wear it, the more I hide my insecurities. And then sometimes I just feel like India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair.”
But the truth of the matter is, everyone keeps saying to me “I am not my hair.” I AM my hair. Whether I wear long tresses on my head or short naps, that’s me. And when you say something crazy about it or disrespect it, you hurt my feelings. Artists like to make believe that nothing effects them and that they love haters and haters make them stronger. That’s a load of bullcrap. I think that haters are mean and that’s all that’s to it. So…I am my hair.

I was told you have photos of your new hairstyle. When do you plan to reveal them?
Me and Derek Blanks did a photo shoot titled “For Freedom, Not For Beauty” because the main reason for this is not about being beautiful. It’s about being free from the status quo and from being in the box and from being what everybody thinks one person should be. And really just liberating oneself and becoming what that person wants to be. I also wrote a poem that goes with it.

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