To say that T’Keyah Crystal Keymah is multi-talented is an understatement. She is a performer, writer, author, producer, director, and public speaker. T’Keyah has performed on stage, television and film, and is also a philanthropist. Whether you remember her from the Emmy Award winning comedies like “In Living Color” and “The Cosby Show” or the longest running series in Disney Channel’s history, “That’s So Raven,” aside from her remarkable talents, you will definitely not forget her beautiful head of natural hair.
She also wrote and self-published a book containing simple, step-by-step instructions on maintaining natural hair called Natural Woman/Natural Hair: A Hair Journey at a time when natural hair books were a rare find. If you haven’t read it, it’s definitely one to add to your beauty books shelf.
T’Keyah Crystal Keymah took time out from her busy schedule to share her growing hair journey with CLUTCH!
Her natural hair journey…
Like most little Black girls of my generation, I grew up getting my hair pressed for school photos and other special occasions; and learning in the process (pun intended) that something was wrong with the natural state of my hair. I learned at my grandmother’s stove that God made Black girls less beautiful, less desirable, less acceptable than those that would grow up to grace magazine covers and such without ever getting their ears burned by a hot comb…
But with help from the gorgeous afroed images of Pam Grier, Rosalind Cash, and the like, I began to unlearn that awful myth. I think my first trip to Senegal, however cemented in me the idea that it was perfectly fine for my hair to match my face and my lineage. Like my dear late great friend Ms. Cash, wearing my hair naturally cost me many jobs. But like my mentor, I have, gratefully, been able to survive and even thrive in an industry that equates nappy/kinky/coily hair with poverty and ignorance.
Her favorite styles and products:
My favorite styles are twists and ponypuffs. I experiment with many different products. At the moment, I’m using Products of the Earth, Carol’s Daughter and Namaste. I don’t have much time to surf the net, but I have seen some of the natural hair sites. It is encouraging to see that so many people are now celebrating their natural hair.
On writing her book Natural Woman/Natural Hair:
I wrote NWNH because I wished there had been such a book for me when I first went natural and, again, when I first started working in television. I also wrote it because of the fan mail that I got and still get from natural hair fans.
Her thoughts on the rise in natural hair/natural hair products:
I love it, love it, love it! It is so very important that we spread the word to our sisters, friends, mothers and daughters that there is nothing wrong with us. That we, in fact, are beautiful too! Where products are concerned, I am particularly proud of all of the Black owned natural hair care companies on the horizon. I encourage people to support the independent companies who are struggling to survive in a harshly competitive market infested with perpetrators. Read labels!!!! Everybody is not who they say they are, doing what they say they are doing.
Her advice to those transitioning and contemplating wearing their hair natural:
Be creative. Be adventurous. Be confident. Be patient.
What she’s doing now:
At the time of the interview, she was in Chicago preparing for the gospel concert, T’Keyah Crystal Keymah Salutes Gospel’s Original Diva! which took place on June 18. The concert, which celebrated the roots of gospel music (T’Keyah, herself, singing songs by the great gospel divas), kicked-off the Black Music Month Gospel Trade Symposium in Chicago.
“After that I will go back to the screenplay on which I have been working for a while, as well as another music project. I may also do a play this summer,” she added.
Facebook Fan Page: TKeyah-Crystal-Keymah