What began as an inquiry to uncover what’s behind one of the most fantabulous afro’s gracing the stage today, ended up being a spirited dialogue bursting with inspiration about curl-power, self-esteem & achieving your dreams!
Intelligent, sweet, insightful, & confident in the very essence of her natural identification, she’s a BEAST on the dance floor, backing up none other than the mommy-to-be herself – Beyonce! She was a joy to speak with, & you’ll want to get to know her too: The gorgeous & empowered Kimberly Gipson!
So you just got back from rocking a killer performance at the 2011 VMAs!
KG: Oh my gosh, the VMAs are like double anxiety: stressful & exciting! It’s live & so many things change at the last minute. It’s a wonderful experience BUT (laughing) stressful.
How did you come to dance with Beyonce?
KG: I auditioned in 2007 for “The Beyonce Experience“…and didn’t make it. When she opened up auditions again, I told myself “This is my job; I’m going to get it!” I took dance classes in stilettos, & focused on nailing the moves. I bought a one way ticket to Atlanta & was one of only two dancers that got a call back from there. I never looked back.
Rehearsals must be insane!
KG: Rehearsals are intense, especially close to shows….sometimes 12-15 hours! And we’re in heels from the moment we come in. I had to take Tylenol…
That is serious!
(Giggles) It is! But rehearsal is a growth period, a journey. A time to strip everything away & start learning the basics.
Who are you on the dance floor?
KG: FIERCE KIMMIE, ha ha! But in reality, I’m a simple Jersey girl who likes to giggle. I’m really a geek; I embrace my geeky! I love to be at home, read, good company & laughing at corny jokes. People think dancer’s lives are so glamorous, that we’re always at parties. Not this girl. I’m very simple.
Have you always rocked your frizzness?
KG: Yes, but….when I was 13 my mother let me get a perm. It never took – my edges were straight & I still had an afro in the middle! It’s tough. People don’t always associate beauty with afros. Once I embraced my hair, I embraced who I AM. And that’s when I got the jobs (after being turned down for both the Philadelphia 76ers & Beyonce the first time). My hair is BIG & will always be big!
Natural hair doesn’t define who we are, BUT…
KG: …it totally makes me who I am! It’s about realness, acceptance &purity. It’s how you approach everything in life.
What do you do on days when you mane cops an attitude?
KG: I’ve learned accessories will make a bad hair day rock! I’ll put my hair back into a mini ‘fro with big hoop earrings & make my statement another way. I’ll wear a hat or a nice scarf.
How do you maintain your crown?
KG: It depends on breaks, or if we’re in the middle of a promotional year for Beyonce. Pretty much, I’ll get it deep conditioned to make it nice, healthy & strong. The amount of stress you put on your hair can undo its health in a week!
Do you manage your own hair on tour or does a stylist take the reins of your ‘fro?
We do our own hair. All I need is my water & conditioner!
Do random people attempt to touch your ‘fro?
KG: All the time!!!! It doesn’t matter the race; personal space becomes non-existent, ha ha! They especially ask overseas in Asian countries. They see this big group of beautiful black women with amazing natural hair & I accept that it’s not normal for them to see.
What’s the biggest hair “uh-oh” you’ve made?
KG: Perming my hair in the first place. Back then, Sunday night was “hair night.” I spent hours in front of the TV getting my hair done. I dreaded it. I thought perming it would make it easier.
I love your positive, confident energy! Where does that come from?
KG: Thank you! Growing up, you don’t know who you are. I never cared if I was pretty, I just wanted to dance! The 76ers, Beyonce….I auditioned for so many things & didn’t make it. It wasn’t until I embraced my natural hair that I felt “I’m beautiful enough, I’m talented.” The afro is a symbol of power & beauty; it’s a push of confidence. It’s my secret weapon – I rehearse in my afro puffs! With an afro, people see you from a mile away. You gotta own it – you can’t let your afro own you! It’s not a costume. It says “This is who I am.”
What are your natural hair rules?
KG: That rules are meant to be broken! I don’t want anything restricting me. Not even my hair. It’s tough to manage because you can’t predict it (natural hair) but, you can train it.
What do you love the most about your afro?
KG: It’s so liberating, so FREE! It’s an unspoken language. I am who I am, and if you don’t accept it – that’s your loss.
What advice can you extend to some of the natural newbies?
KG: Hang in there, it’s totally worth it! During that “in between” stage, braid it, rock afro puffs or whatever, but embrace naturalness as a whole. Then go on about your day. The reward is so worth it!
What are you working on now?
KG: Kimmestry! It’s a motivational dance workshop for young girls. It teaches self empowerment, acceptance & love. Love YOU because you are worth it! I enjoy working with young girls & my mission is to teach them you don’t have to jump through hoops to be beautiful. Your life can be what you want it to be. I want little girls to know & own how beautiful they really are. It’s the “ME Movement!”
How can our readers find you on the web?
Facebook: Kimberly Gipson
AUTHOR’S NOTE: It was an absolute pleasure speaking with someone who has been blessed to travel the world, yet rooted in a home called HUMBLE. Keep an eye out for Kimmie….this natural’s star will most definitely continue to rise!