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Jamelia says dramatic haircut was like a ‘rebirth’
The singer and actress talks about her relationship with her hair and embracing her natural texture.
Jamelia has opened up about her hair journey (Shea Moisture/PA)
Jamelia has said that she is “so much more” than her hair.
The singer and actress chopped off her locks in January last year, posting the video on Instagram.
“I’d become synonymous with my hair. I just felt like I’m so much more than that,” Jamelia said, discussing why she chopped it off.
“I’m so much more than my hair or a black woman with Afro hair. And even without it, I’m still worth something.”
Jamelia – who plays Sharon Bailey on Hollyoaks and recently reached the final five on Celebrity MasterChef – said: “Maybe I was going through something at the time, but I just knew that it was like a rebirth for me. And weirdly, it took less than a year for my hair to get back to the length it was when I cut it. The length that took five years to grow.
“It was literally just for me. I didn’t want the hair from the previous Jamelia to come with me.”
Jamelia said she wore her hair in various styles growing up – she had dreadlocks until she was seven, and three years later her hair was relaxed – a chemical treatment that straightens curly hair (also known as a perm for black hair) – before she joined a predominately white secondary school.
“Dreadlocks are an incredible celebration of your hair in its most natural form. My hair was left to just be. I didn’t have the neat dreadlocks you usually see nowadays, but they were long and my mum would do styles with them,” she said.
Jamelia wants her daughters to embrace their natural hair (SheaMoisture/PA)
“I can understand why my mum relaxed my hair. My secondary school was a specialist school for technically minded children, so it was quite prestigious. It was about conforming and not sticking out too much. I think it’s why she cut my locs off as well.”
Jamelia is now mother to four daughters: Téja, 22, Tiani, 18, True, 5 and Jream, who just turned one.
“My five-year-old asked for a unicorn horn the other day, and she was very happy with her hair and got so many compliments on it, which was a lovely experience for her. I hope she will always remember it. Black women and girls express themselves through their hair before anything.”
It’s one of the reasons why Jamelia and her daughters have partnered with SheaMoisture to launch a new photo series called ‘Same Roots, New Rules’ in celebration of Black History Month, showcasing hair transformations of a group of mothers inspired by their daughters.
The series captures each woman’s dream hairstyle that they felt they could not wear growing up, due to hair discrimination. It found that black and mixed heritage women over the age of 45 were 24 times more likely to conform to societal pressures when it came to their hair, in comparison to 18-21-year-olds.
Research also found that for 29% of women with Afro and textured hair over 45, this pressure included being teased or facing negative remarks when they wore certain hairstyles.
“I think entering into the music industry was [the point] when I first realised my hair wasn’t really being catered for or understood. For so many years of my career, I had relaxed hair, so people got away with not being able to really do it, because they could just pull it back into a ponytail. There are so many instances where my hair looks so dead,” Jamelia said.
“When my natural texture came into the mix and my daughters got more involved in shoots, that’s when I realised there was a huge void in the entertainment industry as a whole. There is so much lack of knowledge, and you are made to feel like the problem. If my hair is a problem, you are telling me that I am the problem.”
Jamelia said she “still to this day” has situations “where I end up doing my own hair”.
She added: “I guess it is discriminatory, because excluding a type of hair – especially from an educational standpoint – is awful. But I’m also really good at doing my own hair. It’s why I love to spoil it so much.”
SheaMoisture has launched ‘Same Roots, New Rules’, a powerful new photo series that showcases four beautiful hair transformations of a group of mothers including British R&B singer, Jamelia, and a cast of women.