HelloBeautiful: What was the inspiration for “Crown?”
Kelly Rowland: When Dove initially spoke to me about their campaign, they really listened to my own stories and challenges I had with my hair growing up. And the more I talked, I started to remember all of that and was like ‘OMG I don’t think I got over some of that stuff.”
Also, I remember one day talking to my mom, probably complaining about my hair or one moment I couldn’t go swimming or all my hair fell out cause she put a darn perm in it when I was five. You know all these little things we as little Black girls go through. But she told me, “You know baby, your hair is your crown and glory and you always gotta take care of it. Be proud of your hair.”
And at that time, I was going to a predominately white school, throwing my hair around that was stiff as a board, so this idea of loving my hair was a hard thing for me to grasp as a kid.
But now as an adult, I get it. So, I wrote the song coming from that place and my experiences.
HB: What did you learn from the process?
KR: Working on this song and campaign, along with being around the girls, made me realize that so many of us, regardless of race and hair texture, go through similar struggles. Also, working on this has been therapeutic. And I want everyone to know that this song comes from such a real place. ‘Cause if it’s wasn’t real and authentic, I didn’t want to do it.
HB: The public reaction to “Crown” has been so positive. How does that make you feel?
KR: Seeing the response makes me feel like I am fulfilling my purpose. God gave me this platform beyond just “being cute and holding the microphone.” Amazing opportunities like this allow me to impact women and girls in the most important way.
HB: Looking back at the making of the “Crowns video,” what have you taken away from that experience?
KR: That entire experience was mind-blowing. The more the girls were talking about their hair and their struggles, the more cathartic it was for them. We shot the video over a course of three days and each day I witnessed them becoming more confident.
I think part of that was about us being silly, throwing our hair and putting our guards down. But the other part was just about having these conversations so that they see that they were not alone—and that’s the key. Too often, as young girls and as grown woman, we keep so much bottled up inside, telling ourselves that we are fine, so we don’t talk about it. And that’s not OK.
So watching these girls come out of their shells and open up and have fun, allowed me to be their age too. They even had me on a skateboard going down a ramp, not a big one though, I wasn’t going to break my back.
It such a wonderful experience.
HB: As a young Black girl and even as a grown woman, I too have struggled with my own hair acceptance. Finally coming into my own after all these years.
KR: You know, I think for women our age growing up we had these feelings about her hair partly because we rarely saw ourselves in the media. Yes, we had “A Different World” and “The Cosby Show,” but the majority of what we saw, especially around beauty, was white America. We didn’t have enough diversity.
HB: We also didn’t have Miss Jessie’s or Eco Styler!
KR: Girl, we did not. [Laughs] We either had a fresh blow dry or a good roller set, and it was a perm behind that roller set. We needed to see and have more.
I think about the first time my son saw Bow Wow’s “Like Mike” movie for the first time. He was so excited and said to me, “Mommy, he has hair like mine.” And I always knew that this type of representation mattered, but it’s something else to see it through my child’s eye’s. It meant to the world to him.
So, I try to show him pictures on Instagram, like A$AP Rocky, whose hair I love. And he’s like “I like his hair!” And I’ll ask if he wants to wear his hair like that for a week. It’s just so important for him to see these images.
HB: Why is participating in these community events like the one in Los Angeles so important to you?
KR: These events are so exciting and I love being able to be around these girls. They are also great opportunities to make face-to-face conversations happen, which is where the healing takes place. This way, the girls don’t feel like they are in a corner by themselves, they can bond with someone else who is going through the exact same thing and then they can even coach each other through it.
And I am grateful to be part of that.
HB: Final question. What’s your advice for any HelloBeautiful readers that are struggling with loving their own hair?
KR: When I didn’t feel good about my hair I wanted to learn everything about it. So my first piece of advice is to start learning and researching, that way you will not be stuck. That, and learn from women with the same hair texture as yours and find the products that work for you and your hair type.
Also, I don’t let anyone make me feel bad about wearing extensions.
I know people are like, “Oh you should only wear your natural hair,” but I’m like do not tell me what do with my hair. This is about versatility and we should be allowed to change our hair, color it and add in some bundles if we want.
This is about having fun and experimenting. So, try not to take it so seriously, because it’s not a life or death situation, it’s just hair. It will grow back.
So enjoy the journey and remember that you are beautiful.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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