Kim Coles has had a successful career with various comedy tropes. In TV roles, she’s been sassy, aloof, and witty. At stand-up shows, her confidence in being herself and connecting with broad audiences is unparalleled. Since 2010, the Brooklyn native has worn her natural hair out, ditching the weaves we’ve seen her wear for years, and now she’s taking her talents off-broadway with a new project, Supernatural: The Play. In this interview with MN, Kim talked to us about the new venture, dubbed “The Vagina Monolouges about hair,” and explained why the black hair conversation is about unapologetic swag.
Zahra: I have to start by saying that you are the perfect choice to MC this play as KeeKee! A few years ago, I recall you on Dr. Drew’s show discussing natural hair. You were a model of poise and confidence. Describe the importance of being a part of this project and your role.
Kim: I met Candace (co-writer of the play) a while ago when I did a natural hair meetup. She told me about this play, and then I saw it when they brought it to LA. It is perfect for me. I play the narrator of a conversation with other women, giving them permission to explore. It’s not about telling someone they should be natural. It’s about exploring the conversation and the conversation around it.
Zahra: It’s a conversation within a conversation. You’re right.
Kim: It’s a good conversation that we’re having, accepting, embracing and celebrating what we have.
Zahra: We know you as a cast member on In Living Color and Living Single, and as a guest on Martin. Then, you had straight hair. Straight is pretty standard in terms of your business, show business.
Kim: It’s interesting. I didn’t think about that when I decided to make this change. I always marched to the beat of my own drum. You do have to look like what they want to cast, but I didn’t think about the ramifications because I wasn’t working that much. When you’re on a regular show there’s a look they want you to have and maintain. On a couple of casting calls, I had people look at me, and then my hair. They were thinking, “now, what are we going to do with this?” I sort of whispered, “don’t worry, I can wear a wig.” So I do me, and let them come to me.
Zahra: You have been very public about your natural hair love affair. Why? I mean your hair and face are all over your website, honey! Where does that confidence come from?
Kim: Maybe it’s the confidence of naïveté. I’m Kim Coles. I’m a personality. I shouldn’t have a website where I’m a shrinking violet. If you have the audacity to build a website, you should be living out loud. Right now, I’m shopping without makeup.
Zahra: Your candor is pretty hip. I believe that you were born in Brooklyn, and the play is set in Brooklyn where your character, KeeKee, is doing a hair show. Have you recently walked around Brooklyn to take in the vibe?
Kim: I haven’t done a hair meetup there yet, and I’m dying to do an event. You know people always ask me, “what’s so great about NY?” Here’s what’s so great about Brooklyn. You grow up around so many cultures and foods. I know how to say “hello” in three languages. It’s a real melting pot. Particularly, there’s such a strong Afro-Caribbean culture and they are very proud of their Africanness. I grew up around that. You can be unapologetically black and unapologetically whoever you are. There’s a swag, a natural, unapologetic swag there.
Zahra: Kim, Kim you’re awesome! I have lived in the area for five years now, and that’s the best way to describe why I’m sticking around. I mean some swag is manufactured, but when that’s the case, it’s not made in this part of the USA.
Kim: Yes, you can do you and no one blinks. You’re expected to be different.