Trinidadian, Neal Farinah, Beyonce’s lead hair stylist for the BlackisKing video reveals that Beyonce’s hairs styles in the videos were deep, contextual, revolutionary, spiritual and loaded with meanings.
Farinah suggested that Beyonce intended to restore Black Women’s dignity and glory as she said Black women’s hair and Black trends have been put down for so many years.
He said he was also so proud they could the hairstyles to educate people about the amazing dynamic of Blackness and Black hair and Black trends and the story behind them.
He told Essence magazine: “It was not just hair. It was not just a braided hairstyle. Everything meant something and that’s what makes it powerful. And I’m so happy that Beyoncé came up with this amazing [project] and that I can share this with her because her vision is unbelievable”.
After lots of consultations, researches and idea exchanges, Farinah made a Hall of Fame roll call of talented Black stylists including Kim Kimble, Nakia Rachon Collins, Xia Charles, Keinda Davis, Nicole Newland, Safiya Warner, Tashana Miles, Kendra Garvey, Kamilah Gerestant and more, so they may collectively get the context and pass the message via Queen B’s hair styles as intended.
They needed to look into intricate braid styles, traditional embellishments such as cowrie shells and beads, and ornate headwraps and geles from Nigeria.
As the message via the hair styles in the videos meant to much to her, she and Farinah paid extra special attention to the details of the hair, pulling references from African royalty and from customs of different tribes across the continent.
Farinah said: “As soon as they started bringing pieces, we started to put them together and I would send to Beyoncé. She’d be like, ‘Go back and do this, go back and do that.’ Or, ‘Try to do it in this color. Bring flavor, bring flavor,’ and sometimes, ‘Less is more,…“And she’d say ‘Remember I have to perform.’ And I didn’t think about all of that, that she has to perform. We’d just create.”
The passion create a meaningful message led to some larger than life styles that even Farinah wasn’t sure how they’d pull off.
Part of it was a horned headdress of the Dinka and Mursi tribes that the singer wore sitting atop a horse in the “Already” video, as well as a cascade of box braids more than 30 feet tall that she donned at the end of “Water”.
The lead hair stylist added that for Beyonce, it was more of the story behind the hair style than the hair styles.
“I have learned so much, that some hairstyles were passed on from generation to generation, to respect your elders, and to respect a married woman. Like when a woman got married, her hairstyle signified that this is a married woman. These hairstyles are so deep. Pieces meant so much. Beyoncé did appreciate me not over-creating the looks because that’s not what it was all about. It was to inspire people about the beauty of African hairstyles and art.”