In August 2018, news of two middle school girls by the names of Tyrielle Davis and Faith Fennidy who were sent home for wearing hair extensions to their Catholic schools sent shock waves through the black community, amassing public outrage. With stories magnified by the clear lack of cultural significance, Fennidy and Davis were undoubtedly traumatized by the reactions to what many young black women would call a cultural right of passage to experiment with hair extensions and protective styles.
After graduating from two-strand twisted pigtails to long free-flowing braids or blendable weave extensions, the transition often elevates a black girl into the forthcoming years of adulthood. Many times, this is the introduction to decision-making, though it’s on a much smaller scale. Through hair, young women are given the opportunity to write their own definitions of who they want to be.
Watching these same narratives unfold, one after the other, these issues have reached the depths of the deep South while also infiltrating other coasts of the continental United States. In an attempt to right the wrongs and create a new portrayal of what “beautiful hair” means, Kelly Rowland embarked on a three-day video shoot to bring a powerful message to life with the assistance of Tyrielle, Faith, and a few other girls who have fallen victim to bullying.
Imagine it’s your first day after getting a brand new hairstyle and much to your surprise, you see looks of judgment rather than awe. These experiences haunt young girls and make them feel as though they are are not allowed to express themselves. It’s never okay to just be referred to as the “ginger,” the “dumb blonde,” the “brillo pad,” or any other mean-spirited nicknames assigned to hair that falls into someone’s “other” category.
Backed by Dove’s newest crusade #MyHairMyCrown, Rowland worked with the personal care brand over a three-day period to achieve an unintentional goal: filming a music video to immortalize the confidence-boosting banger that prompts the inner diva to makes its way out of these young girls.
“Tyrielle’s mom said that she changed completely after the video,” the “Like This” singer recalled from the video shoot. “All of the stuff that happened with her and Faith, that’s really traumatic. It’s gonna take her the rest of her life to try and reprogram that bullcrap and it’s just those moments when you get the chance to talk with them.”
The “Crown” video sits as a physical representation of self-love. Within three minutes, you watch these girls break from their cocoons and begin to embrace the look and feel of their manes. Whether it be the presence of Rowland’s radiating beauty or the overall messaging used to reprogram the self-hate inadvertently placed upon them. “Crown” is the adolescent reboot of stolen confidence that little girls need to thrive.
#MyHairMyCrown marries the stories of young girls with the healing powers of music to reinforce the confidence society has tried to strip from them. The former DC member enlisted in the fight absent any social agenda but entered with intent to armor girls with self-confidence. Piggybacking off the campaign’s meaning and Rowland’s personal experience, the 37-year-old pulled the single’s title from the messages Rowland picked up from her mother.
“The campaign is about hair. I don’t know if I want to say hair, so what else do I say… My mom used to say that your hair is your crown and glory so I said, oh it’s your crown, and I figured it’s a way to also have girls relate to their hair as being royal and regal and beautiful and individual,” Rowland said with pride. “So when we got into the studio, I wanted it to be ‘Crown’ and myself and the writers just went ham and just had a good time with the writing and the producing.”
Check out Kelly Rowland’s “Crown” video below.