hairstylist, spikey love, blends form and function

March 2, 2011

Spikey Love–It has a ring to it doesn’t it? When I first heard the name, I didn’t know what to think but it stuck with me, which is rare. I booked an interview without hesitation wondering a number of things; who exactly is this Spikey person? What does she look like? Why Spikey Love? It was like a mystery waiting to be solved. Several weeks later I got the opportunity to find out. On a sunny afternoon post fashion week, I headed to Union Square for our first meeting. There she was approaching me with her bright orange hair and a cute fedora planted on top. We hugged and sat down at a front table for chit chat. I couldn’t wait to pick her brain. 


Hairstylist, Spikey Love, Blends Form and Function

How Hairstylist, Spikey Love, is using her love for hair dressing and make-up to express individuality and represent the Afro-punk movement

Words Amber Alexander


“Black Widows” Haute Magazine Editorial September 2010
Photographer: Robert Dupree
Hair: Spikey Love


“A huge reason why I think they limit themselves is because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of what somebody or whoever is going to think about how it looks when at the end of the day it just matters whether or not you like it.”- Spikey Love on black females and their hair

Who love is Spikey Love?
I am me. I’ve worked at a bunch of different places and they’ve tried to make me into something THEY want to me to be and I can’t conform to any of those things. I have to do things my way and with people that are like me; They don’t want to look like anyone else, they want to represent their individuality in every way possible and I would like to be the person who helps them do it. That’s who Spikey Love is.

So what exactly does your name mean, because it struck me when I first saw it but I had no idea what it meant. Where did you get the name?
I was working at this hair salon where everybody had to have dramatic names and when I first started they were telling me “Think of a name, think of a name!” I didn’t know what the hell name to use but whatever. So they decided to give me one and the name they wanted to give me was Malibu. I was like oh hell no I am just way too New York to be named after a place in California. But yeah, there was a female character in Degrassi (I don’t watch the new generation but I used to be an avid fan of the older generation) named Spike and our lives are very similar so I chose Spike. For whatever reason in the salon everyone would say “Spikey this, Spikey that, Spikey my love can you come help me?” and it just stuck. Since then everyone has called me Spikey Love.



Africa Fashion Week Spread- BHF Magazine
Photographer: Ada Emhe
Hair: Spikey Love


What is your earliest memory of being infatuated by beauty?
I think I’ve always kinda been…like…subconsciously into it because I’ve just always been around it somehow or somewhere. When I was very young my mom used to take me with her to the hair salon and we would stay there all day into the night. It got to the point where I knew we were going there and I’d throw a fit because I didn’t want to be there all day. My mom’s hairstylist used to give me a mannequin, an almost half empty can of hairspray, a brush and for hours I would just play with the mannequin. Then as I grew older I began to pay close attention to people’s hair. I was very much into color, as I was an art student for a really long time. So finding a way to put them both together (my two loves) was my mission. 


 Africa Fashion Week Spread- BHF Magazine

 Photographer: Ada Emhe

Hair: Spikey Love


Cool, cool. Now I’m about to dive into an observation I find rather annoying. Yesterday I was on YouTube searching for rockabilly makeup and other type of alternative makeup tutorials. I was so shocked at the limited amount of tutorials like that are available for women of color. Do you feel that minorities specifically Black women limit themselves when comes to expression through beauty? Why do you think that is?

I think they limit themselves because of many reasons, I mean I can go on forever listing the reasons I think they do. A huge reason why I think they limit themselves is because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of what somebody or whoever is going to think about how it looks when at the end of the day it just matters whether or not you like it. If you wake up in the morning and you like the way your hair looks then that’s fine. I remember when I decided to go natural because I’m natural (I’ve been for seven years) and god, the backlash that I got from people. I got reactions like “Wow you’re gonna go natural, like you’re never going to relax again?” Why is that such a big deal? I am def not limited with my hairstyle options. I have been able to play with color a lot more because my hair is natural. The texture allows me to go from straight to curly to wavy, pretty much anything it’s limitless. Yet because of some warped idea of what beauty is due to what society deems beautiful they limit themselves. I think it’s really unfortunate.


Africa Fashion Week Spread- BHF Magazine
Photographer: Ada Emhe
Hair: Spikey Love


You wouldn’t consider yourself one of those natural women who shove thier choices down everyone’s throats, would you?
Of course not, I’m not anti anything. I just think people should embrace what they have and/or be happy with whatever decision they make.

What is the best part of being a makeup artist and hairstylist?
Well I am more of a hair stylist than a makeup artist but I def enjoy makeup more personally even though I don’t wear as much as the average chick. I love being a chameleon. Whenever I flip through a magazine or spot someone on the street with a cool look I’d try it for myself. The best part of being a hair stylist or makeup artist is constantly meeting new people especially as a freelance hair stylist because I will get a call for a show or something and I don’t know who I’m gonna be working with that day. But I go, network with a few people and majority of the time I form really great relationships with them to some degree. You never know where that relationship could take your career. Working at a salon I would say at the end when you’re done seeing someone’s hair when you show the finished product and they can’t get out the mirror is the icing on the cake for me. It means I did my job. I also must say I have a part time job at a makeup counter and I have witnessed so much self hatred it’s ridiculous. From bleached skin to some woman who is dark wanting to put a foundation on that’s my color. I’ve had women say oh nooo I don’t mind that it’s too pale? You want to walk around looking crazy? That’s the wild part about doing makeup.

How would you define the Afro-punk woman?
Hmmm, when I emailed Whitney I told her I don’t really know what Afro-punk means. I just know that when I go on the website and check my weekly newsletters there’s a lot of people like musicians and designers sometimes…..oh and artists that I really like on there. But based on what she was saying is AP an Afro-punk woman could be anybody; Anybody who goes against the grain and stays true to themselves despite what others think of them. I would say I am def Afro-punk because I totally have been winging it and doing stuff my own way slowly but surely creeping up to where I want to be. It’s def someone who doesn’t let societal constraints stop them for doing what they need to do to get wherever they need to be I life. I think that fucking rocks. I could only hope to be a super duper Afro-punk woman because it’s hard to not fold and be like fuck it, just give up on your dreams because everybody else is so afraid to go after their own dreams so they are quick to shoot you down. Take a few right turns and take a few wrong turns but I believe if you stay true to yourself you will wind up where you are supposed to be.


Africa Fashion Week Press
Photographer: Ada Emhe
Hair: Spikey Love

What role do you feel Afro-punk plays in history?
I actually saw an article about this on AP too. People were having an argument about black history and how it shouldn’t just be confined to one month. I definitely think the role AP can play as far as black history is concerned period is keeping people informed and aware of what exactly black history is. It’s not just Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman it’s so much bigger and deeper than that. I just feel like people lose sight of that, I mean they make into such a microcosm. I went to my sons little black history play at school and I thought it was so adorable but it’s Black history day everyday in my house. Every opportunity I get to teach my son a lesson in regards to his heritage…I’m African btw….

Oh wow what part?
I’m from here but my dad is Nigerian. It is very important to me that my son doesn’t grow up with any inferiority complex because my family raised me to be very proud of who I am and where I come from. I don’t come from the gutter so to speak; my ancestors did not come from the gutter. They might have been slaves but they built this country and it’s supposedly the greatest country in the world so if that’s not something to be proud of then I don’t know what is.

I notice that a lot of things are discussed on and I think that AP can be seriously influential in getting the correct message out about black history as far as art is concerned. I remember when I was studying art we only studied black artists during black history month and it was always like Basquiat or whatever like he is the only black artist that exists. Or we would only pay close attention to artists of Haitian descent. I mean there are black artists from the whole Diaspora I mean south American black, African black, whatever…and Afropunk could bring more awareness to those things so it’s not so one sided.


F/W 2010 
Photographer: Alan Yee
Hair & Makeup: Spikey Love


What about in terms of music?

In terms of music? Well music is apart of the arts. Black people contributed a lot to music since forever. I remember when I was in elementary school or junior high school people used to be like “Oh you listen to white music.” because I like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. I would say “What do you mean I like white music is it because the band is white? I don’t understand.” because this is a grandchild of rock music and rock music was created by black people so I hate when people say foolishness like that. It really annoys me; it annoys the crap out of me.

In my opinion music has no color. Also, I believe Afro-punk shows that we don’t only produce hip hop and r&b we make other types of music as well. Sadly there are still people out there who think black people only create one type of music. From the outside looking in people in general see us and think Jay-Z and Young Jeezy as if it’s written across our foreheads.
Very true and to be honest I don’t really listen to artists like Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and so forth. It’s not my cup of tea. I love hip hop though, REAL hip hop.


So my last question is where can we hunt you down? 

Okay well the salon I freelance is Patricia Fields downtown NYC. You can also find me plenty other places, as a matter of fact March 7th at the Apollo Theater that’s apart of the Apollo theater café series where they showcase artists on the rise. Two of my really good friends are going to be performing there and we actually did a whole photo shoot before this that’s actually going to be on exhibit during the show. What we did was pay homage to a bunch of women since next month is women’s history month. If anyone wants to come out to that it’s going to be freaking dope.