Esperanza Spalding’s Natural Hair Is Music

Esperanza Spalding

Last week, Esperanza Spalding spoke to Glamour magazine about her beautiful head of hair and it made me gosh oh so much!

Esperanza fell onto my radar when she won a Grammy for best new artist in 2011. Apart from her beautiful jazz sound, the one thing that stood her out for me was her hair. Back then, I did not know much about natural hair – I still complained about my dread of having to go retouch my straight, relaxed hair. I fell in love with her big halo the way I fell in love with her music… and the rest, as they say, is history.

For Esperanza, her best style is when her hair is brushed out and big: “I feel I can pick up more inspiration—you know, like my antennas are up.”

Growing up…

Esperanza was one of those children who did not appreciate having to wear their hair natural. Her mother would not let her do anything to it. So of course, when she gained some freedom, she did all sorts to her hair – relax, bleach, colour, name it. However, she says at 17, she shaved her hair and as it grew back, she loved what she saw. New eyes, eh?

Source: Tumblr
“I let my curls do their thing—when my hair is wild, that’s when it’s doing its best thing. Click To Tweet
Source: Loxa Beauty

Esperanza’s Styling Routine

She says: “Once I’ve washed it, I work in the conditioner. I like a sulfate-free one. I get it super goopy in the shower—think jellyfish consistency—and I detangle my hair with my fingers. I don’t wash out the conditioner; I just let it air-dry. When I want it in Afro mode, I brush everything out with a paddle brush. Brushing is my one commitment when it comes to my hair; it can take an hour, but that’s when I watch the news or call my mom. Brushing it when it’s dry seems to help it do what I like, which is this wild, frazzled thing—kind of messed up.”

Source: Tumblr

For as long as I’ve known her (yes, we are cool like that), she has worn her hair in that huge, mushroom fro. It’s like her signature. Album covers, live performances, interviews, pictures – she always had that same fro. So imagine my surprise when last May (May 25th to be exact) it was whispered into my ears that MY Esperanza Spalding was sitting at the bar in the jazz club that I was at. I turned to look at the bar and all I saw was a petite pretty Esperanza-esque woman, but no fro. She had long twists instead. Nah, that’s not Esperanza.


Source: WGN

But I kept glancing back. It definitely looked like her. And then my skepticism was washed away when she took to the stage, held down that bass and played beautifully. She didn’t sing though :(. I fan-girled so hard that night!

Taken at Smalls Jazz Club

I got to speak to her for a few minutes after she played and I remember she complimented my white and black skirt and white sandals. Lol. She said, “giiirrrl! I see you!”

Source: Tumblr

For her new album, Emily’s D+ Evolution, she is going for the long braid look. Of this decision, she says “Emily—which is my middle name, and what I was called growing up—is my onstage alter ego and the inspiration for this album. Her look reflects who she is and what she’s about, and draws from my childhood. Her hair is different from how I usually wear it: It’s twisted down in braids, soaking up the energy of her world.”

Source: Tumblr

If you don’t know Esperanza and her music, please help your life and start here!




5 Replies to “Esperanza Spalding’s Natural Hair Is Music”

    1. That win was a big deal sha. People were like huh? How can a jazz artist win best new artist. She’s pretty amazing in my books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *