THE 10 MINUTE CHAT | Pocketmags.com
Modern Barber
Modern Barber


4 MIN READ TIME

THE 10 MINUTE CHAT

CAN YOU TELL US WHERE YOUR CAREER BEGAN, AND WHAT LED YOU TO WORK IN THE FILM AND TV INDUSTRY?

My career began in New York, in my youth, with happy accidents and experimentation while cutting my brother’s hair. My gift blossomed, and word of my expertise spread, prompting requests from many celebrities from coast to coast.

YOU WORK WITH CELEBRITIES SUCH AS EDDIE MURPHY, LIL NAS X AND WILL SMITH. WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH A HIGH-PROFILE CLIENTELE?

It is an honourable task to be entrusted to be a small part of the inner workings of how a celebrity’s visual imagery is projected on screen.

YOU’VE WORKED AS THE CO-HAIR DEPARTMENT HEAD FOR COMING 2 AMERICA, WHICH HAS BEEN OSCAR NOMINATED FOR THE HAIRSTYLING. HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT PORTRAYING BLACK HAIR ON SCREEN?

It was quite an undertaking. I made a pledge to reawaken awareness of our indigenous Afro-centricity through visualisation. I collaborated with my colleague Carla Farmer, and we conceptualised modern-day and classic Afro-progressive looks during countless weeks of ideation, research and preparation. We drew inspiration from many places to impart a visual understanding of all the characters’ unique identities and distinguish their social and geographic backgrounds. At times, the hair also symbolised status, culture, pride, background, wealth and versatility—diverse just like in life. The goal was to present looks never seen collectively on screen in one film, and to embrace and celebrate the culture through emblematizing natural hair textures.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT WORKING ON HAIR FOR TV AND FILM?

It’s an artistic outlet that comes with freedom but also the challenge of conceptualising and executing looks under the creative restrictions that come with portraying specific characters on screen. I also love seeing my work on screen and the permanence of that being in the archives forever. It’s like the original Instagram before Instagram even existed, and it will certainly outlast it.

WHAT’S THE MOST TECHNICALLY CHALLENGING ASPECT IN YOUR LINE OF WORK?

Time! On set, we have production schedules. It’s not like working in a shop, where you have an afternoon to accomplish all the preparation needed to create a style. You have to work with the actors however they come in, and get looks together in a very limited amount of time. The other thing is understanding continuity and shooting out of order. Sometimes you shoot a scene that you won’t revisit until days, weeks or even months later. It is imperative to log and match looks – otherwise, you will have random continuity errors when the scenes play out in sequence. I’ve had as little as five minutes to as much as 30 or 45 minutes to achieve completely camera-ready looks.

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT PLANNING THE HAIR DIRECTION WHEN WORKING ON A PRODUCTION AND CREATING A CHARACTER THROUGH THE HAIR?

The hair is supposed to tell a believable story that accentuates the character, script, environment, territory, period and wardrobe. First, you absolutely have to read the script and do a script breakdown to determine a vision for the character’s hair. Then you pull inspiration and sometimes make story boards to grasp the ideas and vision that the director and actor have in mind for the character development.

“ATTACH YOURSELF TO PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.”

CAN YOU SHARE ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE CAREER HIGHLIGHTS?

One of my favourite moments was being called while on vacation with my family and friends in the Bahamas to do a haircut for Tyler Perry, who was coincidentally on his own island in the Bahamas. Not wanting to interrupt the time we were spending together on vacation, he sent a sea plane to pick us all up. We flew a few minutes to his island and landed on the water. We got out in the water and walked right up to his beachside bar. I cut his hair while my children and company enjoyed food, drinks and a dip in his beachside pool. The best afternoon at work in my career ever!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO BARBERS WHO WANT TO WORK IN THE TV AND FILM INDUSTRY?

Gain as much knowledge as you can about the business. Always seek and be open to learning new things. Attach yourself to people who are doing what you want to do. Association breeds assimilation.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE BEEN NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR FOR THE HAIR STYLING IN COMING 2 AMERICA?

I am completely elated. I am still wrapping my head around the fact that I am now a part of the history of The Academy and furthermore, a part of Black history in film and the hair industry. To receive a nomination amongst such an immeasurable amount of talent on an international level is quite a feat and I am really proud of the accomplishment.

About

This article appears in the April - June 2022 Issue of Modern Barber


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COPIED
This article appears in the April - June 2022 Issue of Modern Barber