Kadeem is a talented actor and artist with a gorgeous head of natural coils and a welcoming personality to match. As a black man in America, growing his hair was offensive to some. The clean-cut look is often falsely pushed as a necessity to succeed and be presentable. But Kadeem knew better. It’s now been two years and both his hair and student career are flourishing. Here the Georgia native chops it up with us about and his decision to follow his own path, what he’s learned in the process, and how he cares for that big, beautiful fro.
How long have you been growing your hair?
The last time I got a full haircut was around July 2017. That means I’ve been growing my hair out for about two years.
How did you begin, and what/who influenced your decision?
There were quite a few reasons I wanted to grow my hair out. One was that I wanted a new style for the new chapter in my life, college life.
Before I decided to grow it all out, I usually just tried rocking a fade or whatever hair trend that was going around at my high school. That’s one of the other things that influenced me. No black men at my school or anywhere at the time were rocking their fros all because of some sense of conformity.
As a black man I was always told I have to keep my hair cut and short to maintain a professional, sharp, clean look, but I didn’t believe that. I believed that as long as I could maintain and keep my hair healthy there should be no reason to why it should be viewed as a burden.
I wanted to prove that I can go get a successful life without having to conform to some sort of unwritten ethics. Imagine being told you won’t succeed in life simply because of the way your hair grows out of your scalp. Now that’s blasphemy.
How did you wear your hair on a daily basis now?
Today I usually wear my hair in a few different styles: mini two-strand twists, a twist-out, or a big puffy bun.
Describe your hair.
I have 4a/4b textured hair. I’ve yet to test its porosity, but so far it hasn’t been much of a problem not knowing.
Also, I should mention that I have an undercut, so all the photos where my hair looks long and voluminous is just from the hair that’s growing from the top of my head, not the sides or back. I just love how it gives off the illusion that I have a full head of hair.
Share your maintenance routine. How do you care for your crown?
I wash my hair with shampoo every two weeks. I normally start my routine on a Saturday or Sunday.
I’m currently using Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil & Gingseng Lush Length Shampoo. After that, I go in with SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque.
After rinsing out the deep conditioner, I apply SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Leave-In Conditioner and proceed to two-strand twist my hair. I keep my hair twisted for about a week.
The following Sunday or Monday I untwist, rock the twist-out, then on that coming weekend I just repeat my routine.
What’s the natural hair scene like in your city?
I used to live in Hinesville, GA. Black men from my hometown don’t grow their hair out the way I’m doing now. When they do, it’s often dry or coarse due to no knowing how to take care of it.
There’s only a small handful of women at my hometown that I notice who wear their hair naturally. Most use relaxers.
Since moving to Atlanta for college I’ve noticed tons of black men and women who rock healthy natural hair compared to my hometown. I’m talking locs, twist-outs, buns, wash-and-gos, etc. It really makes me happy to see people embracing the coils they’re born with.
How do people react to your natural hair? Have you encountered any criticism from family/friends?
At my job I get compliments on my hair literally every day. When I’m walking to class or just strolling around the street a few people will stop me to compliment my hair, ask me how long have I’ve been growing it out, or ask for any hair advice.
My aunts, female cousins, and friends love my hair. But during the first year of my hair growth the men in my family, older uncles, and cousins would ask me when I’d be getting a haircut. Today those same uncles or cousins call me a mixed child or they think I put in a special product in my hair to make it appear so curly.
What have you learned about your hair since growing it out?
Since doing my own hair for the past two years I’ve learned that my hair is one of those things that makes me and everyone else unique.
If you could have done one thing differently in the process, what would it have been?
I definitely would have done a bit of research on the balance of moisture and protein in a person’s hair. I recently overloaded my hair on protein which caused it to shed for about a month. Thankfully, I was able to get the moisture and protein balance back in about two months.
Where can we find you online?
You can find me on Instagram @kaadeeem and Snapchat @kadeembrown254.
I also have a YouTube channel called Kadeem B. I’ve posted a few hair videos there for people interested in knowing how I take care of my hair. I also try to help other black men and women learn how to maintain and embrace their unique hair texture.
Any advice or words of encouragement for other naturals?
Everyone’s hair is different. Embrace and love yours because it’s what makes you unique.