Beyoncé is one of the most influential women in the world of music. Since her Destiny’s Child days of “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Bootylicious,” she has impacted girl power while giving us a good bop to dance to.
[SEE ALSO: Beyoncé’s Beaded ‘Ivy Park’ Braids Are Epic AF]
And, she has crafted a whole brand around it, while flaunting her curves and blown-out tresses that never quite hit silky-straight status (we noticed that way back when and loved it). And, yes, her hair was just as important as the music for many of us. Even while marketed as a pop star, she served looks and statements that spoke specifically to Black women—sprinkling in braided and textured hairstyles that we could (attempt to) recreate at home.
“She’s a woman of fashion and style and she’s confident,” says hairstylist and reality TV personality Kim Kimble, who has been behind Bey’s most epic creations for the past two decades.
First teaming with Beyoncé back in her Carmen days, the two have served lewk after lewk—everything from cornrows and honey blonde waves to kinky curls and bob—that have contributed to or defined a moment, movement or milestone of Black girl (and hair) magic. And, whether you’re an official member of the Beyhive or completely meh, there is no denying her influence.
“It’s all about confidence,” Kim tells Hype Hair. When [her fans] see her rock something confidently, it has a domino effect.” Case in point: the Lemonade visuals that, nearly four years later, still have folks asking for ankle-length cornrows and honey blonde kinky curly afros.
“I think it’s amazing,” she adds. “She’s a trendsetter.”
Kim, herself, has also been at the front of natural hair and texture movement before it was a trend. She’s carved a creative niche in the celebrity world, working with such celebs as Mary J. Blige, Nicki Minaj, and Brandy (remember those box-braid years?), coiffing countless covers and even giving us magical hair in A Wrinkle In Time.
Kim also had a significant influence in Bey’s transition to more unapologetically Black ‘dos that amplified her music’s messaging. For Lemonade, Kim pushed for more textured looks. “I wanted to see her rock something different,” reveals Kim. “Let’s do some natural hair. Let’s do some texture, let’s do some braids.”
Beyoncé has broken the Internet time and time again since then, including when her mom showed off her natural inches and sent the Black community in an uproar over whether we could actually grow hair (uh, yeah).
And her looks, have become more and more Black AF. Like the several iterations of a kinky afro crown she slayed for the Super Bowl in 2016 and the Grammys in 2017, her straight back cornrows for the 2018 Vogue cover or her cornrowed finger wave braids for The Lion King premiere screening — or the accompanying visuals for “Spirit.”
And, just this month, she slayed two different braided styles that set social media ablaze. One, a set of braids adorned with her Ivy Park logo in wooden crimson and cream beads announcing the forthcoming launch of her new fashion collabo with Addidas.
The look was all Beyoncé’s idea, says Kim. “She wanted that done to go with the collection.” Kim and her team of braiders and beaders, including Kendra Garvey and Bey’s other longtime hairstylist Neal Farinah, created the look that floated above the normal low positioning of beads.
Of course, there is nothing new about beaded hair art—much like there is nothing new about our natural kinks and curls or the country braided plaits crafted by Neal and Nakia Collins for ELLE’s December cover spread.
But, this is all speaks to Beyonce’s palpable influence. “She wears it all well and makes it look fashionable,” says Kim.
And, whether or not everyone deems it groundbreaking—especially given her sister Solange’s own natural hair icon status—Beyoncé has used her platform to put Black hair front and center stage with her band, dancers and celebrity friends.
“I think any woman who can take something that God designed for her and really make it work for her is awesome,” says Kim. “I love the effect she has on people and I understand it—a confident, strong, Black businesswoman is awesome. Like Michelle Obama, like Oprah, like a lot of other women who are going for what they know and doing it with confidence.”