Join us as we discuss hot topics in the hair community with master stylist Thando Kafele.
Thando Kafele is one of the most decorated forces in the natural hair industry, internationally acclaimed as a master stylist and instructor. Serving as the official spokesperson for Jane Carter Solutions (www.janecartersolution.com), he has consistently raised the professional standard of the genre for almost two decades.
Brooklyn’s own Thando Kafele was the winner of the Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Show for twelve years straight, and in 2011 became the first natural hair stylist to win a “Hair Oscar”. His methods display an array of lock-twisting techniques in several trade shows like the Bronner Bros., the IBS Show, and the Premiere Show. Essence and Ebony magazine sought the best in the business, featuring Mr. Kafele as a credible source of knowledge and experience. His many styles can be seen in popular books including Authentic Hair by Ademola Mandella and Embracing Your Roots by Nahbila Sonia Tutuwan Thames.
Mr. Kafele values the individual in his chair. His loyal regulars adore him and his celebrity clientele respects him. Heavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis and L.A. Dodger’s Manny Ramirez have both been a part of his story, although he is best found among local networks sustaining the culture. Kafele has pioneered the “comb technique”, applying his brilliance as owner of TK Salon and Senior Stylist of New York City’s Locks N Chops.
Thando Kafele’s legacy is one of innovation and humility, excited to mentor those willing to learn. Team BLACK is his vision turned reality, a collective of natural hair care dynamos from different backgrounds growing together to master their own skill set. He has been affectionately yet accurately dubbed, “The Legend”, solidifying himself as a leader of an industry he helped to build.
Show Notes :
In our talk with Thando Kefele we touched on the hair controversy surrounding Beyonce and Jay Z's daughter Blue Ivy, on the male presence in the natural hair industry, and on honoring our leaders in the natural hair industry.
Here is just an excerpt of what Thando had to say:
" I’ve been saying for the last 15-20 years, that our ethnic hair is the most understood, the most powerful, the most talked about, the most versatile, and the strongest hair on the planet. People are always going to have questions, and conversations, and upsets, and triggers around our hair, and all of the mysteries that haven’t even been unfolded about it.
Why would there be a conversation around the way Beyonce manages her child’s hair? And maybe, it’s a possibility that in the industry, Beyonce doesn’t have a freedom with her hair, and maybe she wants to give that freedom to her daughter.
When it comes to babies, there are still conversations around little boys with hair, and the conversation of what’s masculine and what’s feminine."
Conversation points -
What mystery needs to be unfolded about our natural hair?
· Anything that they can do with relaxed hair or processed hair, you can do with your natural hair.
· What is appropriate and what our hair speaks to in the world
· There is a fear of our natural hair.
· Natural hair, it’s not just about style, it’s also about health.
· Seeing images of natural hair, where it speaks to beauty.
· Is too black too strong?
Thando goes on to express his thoughts on the male presence and leadership in the natural hair industry. His main points are about communication, value, connectedness, the respect of professional to professional, and of the professional to the community. Other points include:
· Product companies have to include culture in the advertising.
· The professionals have to speak, walk, and act, while servicing our community.
· We should see the institutions that started this as places of opportunity to franchise,and to get training and service.
· We don’t need to transition our hair texture, but instead we need to transition our thinking, black men have natural hair and we need to feel comfortable, and masculine in it.
· We have to create a space in our salons that are proactive for the client and please people who wear natural hair
The professional barber who chooses to step up, and who puts out a DVD or an App, should have real conversations via Skype, or the classroom about black women, natural hair cutting, and the beauty around it. Their professionalism should convey "Yes, you can trust me, yes I will play music in the salon that is inviting, and I will throw a couple of plants in the salon for women to make them feel comfortable, and yes you will be able to trust me with your hair. I will not shave you up partially, I will embrace your femininity, and I will give you a great haircut that will also be stylish."
The final take away from the conversation about styling natural hair was, “The styling of loced hair is not masculine, it is not feminine, it is African”.
You can connect with Thando Kafele on his website - www.rcfdzine.com