Muthoni Drummer Queen
born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya is a performing and recording artist; she sings, rap and drums. She’s also a creative director at two festivals that she founded, namely Blankets and Wine
(Kenya/Uganda/Rwanda) and Africa Nouveau
which is held annually in Kenya.
If you don’t find her in Kenya she’s probably in Switzerland where she records her music. We had a chat about her hair journey, please read below:
It seems to me that a lot of people are afraid to do anything different/creative/radical with their hair. There is a lot of attachment to what their regular/acceptable hair means.
Were you always passionate hair?
Not particularly. In fact growing up I had the worst hair in my family! I didn’t like it. I was highly embarrassed about it, as was my Mum:) In 2010, I really started to think about how I could express myself more fully and that’s when I considered my hair as a thing for the very first time.
What does hair mean to you?
One more tool through which I can express myself/experiment with.
In your opinion, do you think hair is part of your identity?
How important is hair representation in your work?
Hair, or the lack of it, makes a huge statement about self. I actively think about how hair is presented in the videos/photo shoots, always with the intention to spark curiosity.
What inspires your hairstyles?
African women living in remote parts of the continent and the African culture at large.
How has your hair journey evolved from when you were young?
When I was younger, I thought good hair meant long, lush, full hair which could be held back neatly. I thought it made a girl prettier if she had long hair. I didn’t have this kind of hair, and as you can imagine, the image I held of myself wasn’t very positive. In my teens, we all wanted flat, permed hair that could hold curls. I think more than ever, I was hyper embarrassed by my own hair and so for many years post high school and throughout university, I was always in braided hair. It covered up my “bad” hair + I could have the length and softness of good hair.
When I was 26/27 years old, I decided I need a real change – in the way I saw and experienced myself. I wanted all of my physical being to scream out to the world that I am here, I am me and I have zero apologies because I’m the dopest person ever! That’s when I started to look to traditional hair from the African continent and found the that Turkana woman from Kenya have the most fly interpretation of the mohawk that they’ve been doing for centuries. I was hooked.
What are some of the comments you get when it comes to your hairstyles?
“You’re so brave” “You’re so daring” “Only you can pull of this look” “If only I had the guts” It seems to me that a lot of people are afraid to do anything different/creative/radical with their hair. There is a lot of attachment to what their regular/acceptable hair means. Which is ok, but I almost always catch this longing for expression, for more-ness of self when people say these things to me. It always makes me a little sad. I want people to live out their whole selves free of fear.
Do people in Kenya express themselves through their hair?
I wouldn’t say so. But pre-colonial times, everyone did. Male and female alike
What would you change about the hair industry?
It feels like natural hair is now too “woke” with like 7-8 steps of hair care and a myriad of expensive products that promise heaven on earth. A lot of it feels very artificial to me. A fad. Like people latching onto this idea of hair and making it the end all/be-all of personality/happiness/consciousness. It’s not true. It seems to me that this is the new way to drive consumerism. It’s like “Black natural hair is back, BUT, let’s police it with hundreds of expensive products and standardize what “cool/good/healthy” hair is to make more money from consumers who are not really buying products but a promise of a new and improved self via hair.” It’s sick.
What does owning your crown mean to you?
Letting your hair have a personality of it’s own.
Name people that are owning their crowns unapologetically?
May you please share links to some of your work?
Where can people get in contact with you?
– Muthoni Drummer Queen