Solange’s Hairstylist Weighs In On What “Don’t Touch My Hair” Means

October 5, 2016  |  

Ever since last Friday, Solange Knowles has been serving all kinds of delicious (and Black AF) content to us. Of course, we’re sitting at her table, lapping it all up. Our favorite “meal” from her album A Seat at the Table is “Don’t Touch My Hair.” For many of us, the song is an anthem because having someone touch our hair without permission is, sadly, a common experience for Black women. It also deeply resonates because we live in a time where honest conversations about cultural appropriation, particularly when it comes to hair, are not taken seriously by the perpetrators.

In an interview with The Cut, Solange’s hairstylist, Nikki Nelms, talked about creating the innovative looks for Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” video, what the song actually means, and how working with the singer has impacted her career and life.

Check out highlights from The Cut interview below.

How She Approaches Solange’s Hair

We always take into consideration the whole look, the event, the mood, the time. Sometimes we can do more, but sometimes it’s crunch time and we do less. We have a very similar eye when it comes to styling and what we don’t like, so it works well. I love hair that’s not too neat and what I like to call “Easter Sunday,” and she feels the same way, too.”

What “Don’t Touch My Hair” Means To Nelms

It means so many different things, but I’ll tell you one. Everyone has their own hair and their own style, and what they like. That’s something that you have to own as an individual. Sometimes people will try to imitate you, or sometimes they want you to imitate them, or put pressure on you if you don’t look a certain way. “Don’t Touch My Hair” is the preservation of you. Praising your style, your look, for you. It’s cool to be you. Solange’s whole movement promotes that. That’s just who she is, and she doesn’t let anyone change her. You miss out on so much by trying to imitate someone else’s style.”

What It’s Like Working “In Solange’s Orbit” 

It’s always an honor. Not only are we friends, but I’m also a fan. I love her mind. She’s such an amazing example of how to stay true to you. There are a bazillion hairstylists, and if you get caught up in what everyone else is doing, then you’ve already lost the race. Figure you out, and then stick to it — I’ve learned that by watching who she is. This whole album is an example of what happens when you do you.”

For more insight, to learn how Nelms created the hairstyles for “Don’t Touch My Hair,” and to find out how to master Solange’s video looks from her makeup artist, Miguel Ramos, read The Cut’s entire interview here.

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