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Goapele Shares How Embracing Her Uniqueness Fueled Her Music, Politics and Natural Hair Styles

Goapele (Instagram)

Goapele (Instagram)

Singer-songwriter Goalepe continues to enjoy a spectacular career. Having collaborated with artists like Dwele and Eric Benet, the 39-year old is working on new music and talking about how her attitude about creating songs has transferred to her hair.

She will perform at the Natural Health & Hair Summit in Atlanta on Oct. 1. Attendees can use the promo code “ABS” to get a $5 discount on general admission and VIP tickets.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s among friends – Vivian Green and Dwele and Anthony David,” she shared with Atlanta Black Star. “We all have short natural hair. I think in soul music it’s a little more accepted than in straight up R&B.”

Her appearance is one that she hopes will inspire attendees to embrace their natural hair the way she has.

“I think it just shows other women beauty looks all different types of ways,” she said of her upcoming hour-long show. “We should be able to define it for ourselves. I hope that I encourage other women to have the courage to do whatever feels right for them.”

Hair Changes 

Since her first studio album was released in 2001, Goalepe has put her hair through many changes. She wore locks for a time and then sported her tresses flat-ironed straight.

Currently, she’s sporting a close-cropped blonde look which forced her to embrace her hair no matter what state it’s in.

“Sometimes it might not look as fresh as I want to, so I have to rock the style as if it’s on purpose.”

As a woman who had been natural previously, she ended up cutting off her hair again two years ago after flat ironing it straight changed its texture.

“I felt like I had tried everything and I was searching for that liberation again,” she said.

The singer cut off her hair several times before and described it as “freeing” each time. But she noticed she faced different treatment based on her hairstyle.

“I think that having my hair cut really short, it’s fun when the room really embraces me but it can also be a little vulnerable when you’re going against the grain,” she explained, “When I do get compliments I feel like people really see me, and it feels affirming. But it definitely is a different kind of attention. It’s a little bit scary each time.”

Entertainment’s Au-Natural Movement

Frightening or not, Goapele, along with Black entertainers like Alicia Keys, has embraced the natural look wholeheartedly. The artist called the turn “empowering.”

Goapele (Instagram)

Goapele (Instagram)

“I’m just glad we’re back to that time,” she shared. “I feel like that was happening in the ’90s. It was really empowering for me when I cut my hair again after wearing it straight and could wear it with confidence.”

That spirit is in line with the singer’s expression of individuality, which she credits to her West Coast roots.

Open Originality

Growing up in a household with activist parents and living in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, allowed her the freedom of uniqueness, Goapele said.

“It’s more welcome to be an individual than some other parts of the U.S.,” she told ABS. “There’s no part of my family that’s traditional, so I think I never had that pressure to fit in. It was more learning to make peace with the fact that I might not fit in as much as I want to. It’s made me feel an obligation to do music that is gonna have a positive impact, and that’s part of the positive change that I want to see in the world.”

Her music cannot be put into a category, she says. Still, there is a connection to her personal uniqueness and her songs.

“I think it’s about being an individual and not feeling like I have to conform and creating my own style and doing what feels authentic to me. So that translates to the music I do, and it’s constantly changing.”

Music and Current Events

One thing that remained consistent for the star throughout her career is her political leanings.

The performer noted the importance of remaining true to herself and the problems across the country, including those plaguing the Black community.

Goapele (Instagram)

Goapele (Instagram)

“We have to talk about all the different realities and struggles that are going on out there,” she said, referring to the current outbreak of police brutality against Black men. “It’s [about] how underserved we are sometimes. And on the last album, Strong as Glass, that track was “Perfect” and it addressed the hopelessness I think a lot of us feel when we’re hearing statistics of violence in our communities and knowing that each of our voices does matter.”

The theme is carried over on her new album entitled Stand, which she said is due soon.

“It’s kind of talking about if we don’t stand for something we’ll fall for anything,” Goapele explained. “I feel like so often the truth is right in our face but then, the media will distract us with a bunch of nonsense and it’s easy to lose track of what we’re fighting for.”

She acknowledges there is a place for music to be fun, but personally, it’s important for her to be “a woman of substance who cares about different things.”

To see Goapele’s show and other remarkable performers, get your tickets tothe Natural Health & Hair Summit at www.nhmsummit.com.

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