'Lemonade' Hairstylist Kim Kimble Is Excited About the Natural Hair Movement
And thinks Beyoncé deserves a round of applause for making it look so cool.
Beyoncé has always been adventurous with her hair. From a short, natural pixie cut to long braids and extensions–there isn’t a look she hasn’t tried. Many of these varied looks are thanks to her long-time hairstylist Kim Kimble. For “Lemonade,” Beyoncé’s hour-long visual album which was released Saturday night on HBO, Kimble came through again with an impressive range of hairstyles–including elegant updos and edgy cornrows. Here, Kimble reveals why these choices were so important to the overall story, and how she made it all happen.
What inspired you to create such a wide range of hairstyles for “Lemonade”?
I listened to the music to get a sense of her ideas and the sound. I felt that she’s trying to explain her feelings. We normally do glamorous hair but this time we wanted to show more natural hair. It’s beautiful. The inspiration was that of Antebellum New Orleans, Victorian styles, and Creole. Back then, women of color didn’t have relaxers or pressed hair. We wanted to show off beautiful textures, so there was a lot of texture in hair.
Beyoncé tapped into her Texas roots with the ‘dookie braids,’ a style where the braids hang loose. What other references did you have?
There are many historically relevant styles like the Nefertiti crown, cornrows and Afros.
And the crimped hair! Why that style for the ‘hot sauce’ bat scene?
That scene showed off natural texture, it wasn’t crimped. We didn’t use a lot of products so it looks crimped but it wasn’t.
There were a few big hair moments, but the frizz seemed minimal. How did you create this volume?
To achieve great volume with minimal frizz, I’d suggest starting with a hydrating shampoo that is sulfate-free or a co-wash and use styling products to maintain the curls.
You were on set with so many incredible women. Did you feel a sense of responsibility to accurately represent the diversity of their hair?
Absolutely. I’m no stranger to running a hair department. I work in film and television so enjoy working with large groups. There’s a challenge with making it diverse yet still cohesive. A lot of thought went into creating these styles. I hired people from all over — New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Atlanta. I called on people that I could rely on and were comfortable working with that type. Being able to braid was also important.
To keep the looks cohesive you have to have tons of inspiration and a clear direction. You have to express to your team what you are looking for and make sure that you are all on the same page. I like to create vision boards and talk about them so they know what I’m looking for so that we’re all on the same page. It’s important that we’re all creating the same image. I find that using visuals is the best way to get it out there.
What was your favorite scene?
The one with all of the amazing women in the tree. That was great. It was beautiful to see so many beautiful women together. It was meaningful and different. I loved being able to elevate and create art from what she was imagining.
What is the message from “Lemonade” that you hope will resonate the most with women?
I’m really excited about the natural hair movement. There was a time when curls and braids were considered a bad thing. I like the fact that women are embracing natural styles. Every race has curly hair – black, white, polynesian. Lemonade shows women who embrace natural hair textures with fashion and look very cool. That’s what she achieved, she made it it look very cool and wore natural styles with confidence. I applaud her for that. That is the message that I hope people see so they accept what they have. I hope that women will see their texture is beautiful and different. It was an amazing project. I’m happy and grateful to have worked with her on it. I really love what she did and thought that it was very creative and artistic. I love that she’s bold with it.
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