Esperanza Spalding

Week 2 - Esperanza Spalding


OMG she is gorgeous. Her hair and her undeniable confidence which is evident in her photos pull you in like a magnet. Who is she?

Esperanza Spalding, 29, is an American jazz bassist, cellist, singer and songwriter. She has won four Grammy Awards and was the first jazz artist to win a Grammy in the “Best New Artist” category.

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Spalding is from Portland, Oregon and is of African American, Native American, and Hispanic descent. She taught herself to play the violin at the age of 5 and as a teenager she became a concertmaster while performing live in clubs throughout Portland, Oregon.

She has had musical talents throughout her family and early on gained musical influences from her mother who was studying guitar and piano in college. She has popped up on many natural hair blogger sites due to her bouncy afro, chic style, and cool confidence.

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How does she maintain her hair? Did it always look like this? What are her favorite hair styles and products? All these questions and more she shares with us in an interview. For more details visit

Have you always been natural?

“I’ve been natural my entire life! My mother didn’t believe in relaxers, and vowed never to put lye on her child’s scalp. Lye is very toxic and your scalp is among the thinnest skin that you have on your body. The harm this stuff can do should not be taken lightly. I’ve never had a relaxer, and I never will.”

What is your view on the “Natural Hair Movement”?

“I’ve pretty much always loved my hair but there were a few years where I really didn’t know how to take care of it. My hair is not as thick as it used to be… when I was younger it was SO, so thick! I didn’t know what to do with it and found it to be very frustrating. Around age 13 or 14, I began to learn new techniques which expanded my styling options, and that’s about the time that I truly began to embrace it.”

“Embracing and freely wearing my natural hair is like a form of self- exploration. I’m not White, I’m not European, and my hair is not straight. So I don’t have any desire to make it straight– it doesn’t speak to who I am as a person. I am very mixed and I like that my hair is a reflection of that. My hair is an extension of me, and that’s how it should be.”

Has your natural hair been an advantage or disadvantage in the entertainment industry?

“Wow… I never really think about it. I mean, it certainly makes me ‘identifiable’ when I show up with my Afro, but, to me, that’s the most obvious way to wear my hair. That’s how it grows out of my scalp. Having big natural hair makes me stand out to people at first take. I think of myself as an artist, as a musician, and I’m happy that my hair is just one more way that I can express myself.”

What is your hair regimen?

“I usually wash my hair once a week– a really thorough wash using a shampoo bar full of oils and natural cleansing agents. I then apply a mix of Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Olive Oil and Tea Tree Oil to my wet hair, brush it through using a typical Goody Brush (the white one with the red plastic bed and teeth), set my hair in 8 twists and allow it to air dry. The twists not only help to set my hair, but they also keep it from tangling as it dries. In between washing sessions, I’ll re-apply my butter mix and twist my hair. I find that I don’t really need conditioner. My hair fairs well with little product. My routine is very simple, very natural. [At night] I usually just re-twist it to keep it from matting up or tangling while I’m asleep. In the morning, I release the twists, and fluff it out. I moisturize with the butter mix as needed. ”

Any advice for people “Going Natural”?

“Don’t get discouraged when at first your hair doesn’t do what you want it to do. That’s part of the beauty of it! You have to learn to work with whatever you have. Some people get frustrated when it doesn’t ‘respond’. Just give it time, be patient, and enjoy it! I love seeing people do their thing and embrace whatever type of hair they have. I also find it inspiring to see naturals that rock crazy, creative and artistic styles.”

Educate yourself on your hair, pay attention to how it responds to your regimen and learn to rock the hotness that is your natural hair.

Pamper your roots, strengthen your hair.

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