Wherever the end credits celebrating the African creatives that contributed to the success of Beyonce’s ‘Black is King’ visual album is revealed, names like Kehinde Are and 25th Fairy Hair will be conspicuously televised.
And this isn’t an iconic feat just because the Nigerian hair maestro, Kehinde Are, was involved in one of Disney plus’ biggest music productions, featuring the creative genius of Queen B; not really.
Kehinde Are’s success story involves much more.
A combination of failing health, a job resignation, a prayer for direction and the mystery of serendipity, led her to take the advice of a friend and enrol in a bridal hair styling class. Her first styling gig came two months later and her first video shoot a month after that.
The after-effect of that one decision, kick-started an unexpected series of opportunities that soon made Kehinde Are and her styling brand, 25th Fairy hair, a sought after brand name.
The African-themed, editorial-savvy and avant-garde hairstyles that she is known for was not something that she was taught; she had always secretly embodied the craft, even though she wasn’t aware of it at the time.
Now with a client base that includes the biggest names in Afrobeats, Kehinde Are is constantly catering to the unique challenges of celebrity requests, bloated egos and oftentimes over-the-top demands of production managers; all of which she fields like a pro.
“So far, there hasn’t been any challenges, I make sure I prepare properly before I come on set, understanding the mood board makes it easier to decide which style is best, “she explained.
With her recent good fortune at securing a spot in the Black Is King visual album production spotlight, there has been a torrent of queries on how she clinched the highly-coveted spot and how it was working on the much talked about project.
“I got the connect through a referral. Working on the project wasn’t easy because I was not feeling too well. I was ill two days before the Black is King Production and I had to tell the doctor to discharge me. I went for ‘Sweet in the Middle’ shoot which we finished by past 4am and the call time for Black is King Production was 8am. I literally didn’t sleep, I just went home to change then went for Black is King Production. I still can’t believe I was able to do all that. Let’s just say the grace of God was upon me and it’s still manifesting.”
Kehinde Are’s schedule is often unpredictable and backed-up and a typical work day with the 25th Fairy Hair brand is a flurry of activities with an array of models being styled, while racing against time.
For most people, the lockdown was an unexpected disaster that upset their well-laid plans but Kehinde Are sees another side to it.
“I used the lockdown period to plan what moves I am making next, I also used that period to jot down different styling ideas I want to create. So right now, I have several hair ideas on my note pad beside my bed . Also, I got closer to God during that period,” she confides.
On what’s next for her, the African hair maestro insists that she has a lot planned for her brand, 25th Fairy Hair, but prefers to be discreet about those plans. As far as venturing into areas like personal grooming is concerned, Kehinde quickly clarifies.
“I don’t do personal grooming for now, I want to put some things together before I start doing that. For now, I am only focusing on music videos, commercial shoots and editorials.”
A roll call of Kehinde Are’s biggest clients will reveal an imposing list that includes Superstars like Beyoncé, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Naira Marley, Sauti Sol, GTBANK, Davido and an NGO from America.
A very impressive feat for someone who only started about one year ago, and whose initial reason for venturing into the space was just to put food on her table.
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire; connect on Instagram with him here