R&B songtress Syleena Johnson has been wooing us with her soulful vocals and captivating personality for nearly 30 years. As the daughter of legendary blues singer Syl Johnson, she’s been in the limelight since she was in grammar school and is showing no signs of slowing down. The former reality tv star recently celebrated the release of her new album Rebirth of Soul and is giving us life as co-host of TV One’s empowering Sister Circle.
The Grammy-nominated singer and mother has also proven to be no stranger to transformation when it comes to both her hair and her health. She’s shed over 70 pounds, become a yoga instructor and an active advocate for natural hair.
Here, we chat with the diva about music, her newfound freedom in going natural and living stress free.
— Stephenetta (isis) Harmon
Hype Hair: We are loving your new natural look. Can you tell us what inspired it?
Syleena Johnson: I wanted to work out and wigs itch! (Laughs). Honestly, I was tired of spending $700/800 for hair. I was tired of the industry putting a tax on me where I have to have this hair, this look. I just wanted to be myself. And, it’s not that I haven’t been myself psychologically — but aesthetically, I had not. I wanted my inside to match my outside. I was just like, f*ck it.
HH: What was your transition like going back natural? Did you big chop?
SJ: My hair has been long up under my wigs and weaves since forever. I have not had a perm since 2003. It’s just I didn’t think I would look right as far as stage and appearances. I felt like I needed to look like and fit a certain mold.
HH: How do you feel now?
SJ: I feel free. I feel empowered. I feel beautiful. Every time I see women with their own hair, I feel connected. I feel like they get me and I get them. And, it’s beautiful.
HH: We love it too. Your hair is gorgeous!
SJ: Thank you so much. There was a time I didn’t believe that. I didn’t think that anybody would believe that. I didn’t even know what my hair really was like because I hid it for so long.
HH: Has your haircare regimen changed much? Is it harder or easier?
SJ: Now that I wear my hair, I do find that it’s easier. So, it was very easy to transition and my hair is actually thick and very well kept. I can wash my hair and go, put it in a pineapple and it’s a style. Now, you do have to take care of it. You do have to place it in a satin cap. So, it’s more maintenance as far as that is concerned, but when you’re celebrating yourself, it’s a reward to be able to care for the things that God has given you.