Updated: Oct 18, 2021
Written by Jon Dailey
Although he can do virtually anything when it comes to hair, he prides himself on his self-taught techniques and talents that have gained him a large social media following and opened the door for a star-studded celebrity clientele including Cardi B, Naomi Campbell, Normani, Doja Cat, Monica, Tia Mowry, Niecy Nash, and Saweetie, to name a few.
J believes that it is possible for every woman to achieve beautiful hair! Since founding his online wig company in 2016, J’s work has been seen on the cast members of hit television shows including Netflix’s Dear White People & Family Reunion, MTV’s Scream, Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta, and Married To Medicine, VH1’s Basketball Wives and the complete Love & Hip Hop Franchise. He has worked on national campaigns for GAP, Footlocker, MORPHE, and Cîroc Vodka, and landed major publications in Paper Magazine, Billboard, Essence, Elle, People Magazine, and Vogue.
In 2019 J was given the opportunity to take his talents on the road where he toured the country with the likes of Ariana Grande & Normani for the Sweetener World Tour as well as Cardi B. & Saweetie’s So Icy Summer Tour. His influence on hair in pop culture has been undeniable due to the meticulously crafted looks that have showcased in chart-topping visual such as singer Normani’s ‘Motivation’, and most recently Rapper m Doja Cat’s visual for “Say So”.
Whether on billboards in Times Square or watching your favorite celebrity on the red carpet, these days it is virtually impossible to look up and not see a JStayReady creation. It is important to J that every client of his, feels as if they the most important person in the world when they are sitting in his chair, and that every service rendered maintains the health, integrity, and beauty of their natural hair. This philosophy of haircare; partnered with a genuine respect & passion for his craft has fueled ‘The JStayReady Brand’ and earned J the reputation of being one of today’s most sought after hairstylist in Hollywood.
J currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
When did you start doing hair?
I’ve always been fascinated by hair growing up, but I didn’t really start practicing it until I got to college. I went to Jackson State University – an HBCU full of black women away from home and their hairstylists. So, it was easy to convince them to allow me to “try”
things out on them for little to no money. Had no idea it would turn into a full-time gig.
How has the place you grew up impacted the art you create today?
I grew up a military kid, so we lived in many different places from the Midwest, to New Mexico, to Texas, and even Japan. I think as we moved around, I was subconsciously viewing how different cultures view and style their own hair, which I now pull inspiration from when creating my own work.
How has the art of music shaped the person/creative you are today? Simple. Without it I would have no desire to be a celebrity hairstylist. The first “wow” moments I ever had while studying hair all came from watching music videos. I never missed an episode of 106 and Park or TRL. I even went to sleep watching MTV Jams, so I knew someday I wanted to be a part of that world of people creating these amazing visuals. It’s was and still is one of my favorite forms of art.
What music artists do you currently work with? I’ve been so blessed to be called on to work with some of the greatest artists of our time – from legends like Monica, to Cardi B, and Normani. Currently I’ve been working a lot with rappers Doja Cat and Saweetie of course.
Who is your biggest inspiration when creating new hairstyles? I pull Inspo from everywhere and everyone. Depending on what I’m trying to accomplish I definitely look back at the work of some of my favorite black celebrity hairstylist who have been in the game for years like Oscar James, Larry Sims, and Chuckie Amos.
What is your favorite hairstyle created to date? That’s so hard haha. I’ve never thought about it. – but the first thing that comes to mind is this image of Diana Ross sitting on a chair with floor length textured hair and flowers pin in it singing “I’m gonna Wash that man right out of my hair.” – Iconic!!!
What, if any, other art mediums do you practice? I loooove music. Fun fact – I just knew I was going to be a singer when I grew up haha – I used to make demos and sing in talent shows and show choir and the whole 9. So, although that’s no longer a dream of mine I do still like to write music! (I have not planned of them being heard or published lol). Also, while in quarantine I just started teaching myself to play piano.
What are your top 3 favorite hairstyles you’ve created to date? 3 – The Farrah faucet inspired feathered look I did on Doja Cat for the “Say So” video. My mom and aunt used to rock flips back in the day and I loved them! So, it was cool to be able to create that moment for such an iconic video today.
2 – The throwback rubber band twists and waves for Normani’s Motivation music video. I’m in love with it mainly because of the time period that hairstyle lived in and how well it translated all over the world! I saw hundreds of girls re-creating the style on YouTube and Instagram and it made my heart melt. To have that type of influence on pop culture is something I’ve always wanted to achieve in my career and still leaves me speechless.
1- I call it the “Hood- Rich Aunty” bun that I created on Saweetie for the Paper Magazine Cover. Paper Magazine was another big career goal of mine. Some of my favorite artists and hairstylist have created amazing glam moments for that cover – so when Saweetie got her cover I was like “How can I make my moment with this shoot?” So, after speaking with Bryon the wardrobe stylists I went to the craft store, came home and started building. A few hours later the bun was created!
What role do you think music plays in the way we wear our hair?
I believe it can translate in many different forms. Some like to channel their favorite music artists when deciding on haircuts and styles to wear and some channel the vibes of their favorite songs.
What was the first music video you watched that made you want to become a hair stylist?
Beyonce – Naughty Girl. She had like 6 hair changes in that video – all different textures, lengths and hues of brown/blonde and 12-year-old me was FLOORED! I was like “I want to figure out how to do that!!!!!”
If you could collaborate with one artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Aaliyah for sure – she was such a beauty and already considered a young style icon. I would have loved the opportunity to create a moment with her for a music video or red carpet.
What has been the greatest sacrifice you have made for your craft?
My time. There are so many instances where I can’t devote time to a cause or relationship that I deeply care about because of whatever is currently happening in my career. Whether it be a shoot, an awards show, a tour, etc. something is ALWAYS preventing me from being able to fully commit to almost anything outside of work. Although those close to me do understand how important my career is to me and support me fully, I know it still stings when I have to pull out of trips, or cancel plans, Return text messages hours/days later, or even send people to voicemail because I have to focus on whatever task is at hand. It really sucks.
What is something you will not sacrifice for your craft?
My morals. Hollywood is a crazy place, but I refuse to let anyone, or any situation compromise my beliefs and how I was brought up. My parents did a great job! Raising me and my siblings. No matter what, I want them to always be able to proudly say “that’s my kid” rather than be embarrassed or shy away from the convo because I’m involved in some crazy scandal or situation.
Hairstyles of which decade has had the biggest impact on the work you create today?
The 90’s for sure. I grew up in the era of marvel irons and pump it up hairspray and it for sure made a lasting impression on me. People were creating literal works of art on their client’s heads at that time and I’m sooo happy it’s slowly making its return back to pop culture.
Favorite music genre and why?
I believe the correct term is Pop- R&B. That the world of Mariah, Chris brown, Beyonce, etc. I love the vocal stacking, harmonies, riffs, and soul that r&b music naturally encompasses. When you add a fire pop beat on top of those flawless vocals, I’m in heaven.
Which music artist do you create to?
If I’m working on wigs or you sit in my chair and I have control of the music – 9 out of 10 times we’re listening 90’s – Early 2000’s R&B. Aaliyah, Brandy, Usher, DC3, Ashanti. There’s literally been no better time in music than that era.
Name one album you can listen to without any skips.
Brandy – Full Moon. Start to finish. Period!
What album(s) or song(s) gets you through tough times?
Of my gospel playlists always gets me through. Karen Clark Sheard’s song “Second Chance” and Donnie McClurkin’s “stand” can pull me through anything.
3 songs that describe you?
Human – Brandy Look at me Now – Chris Brown So Emotional – Whitney Houston
If 2020 was a song what would be the title?
“You thought wrong”
You worked with BEYONCÉ!!! How did this amazing opportunity come about?
Absolutely insane haha. Her hairstylist Nakia Rachon and I connected randomly on Instagram back in 2017. We were huge fans of each other’s work and ended up building a really dope friendship. When she was appointed as one of the lead hair stylists on the project it was “all hands-on deck” and she called on everyone she knew and trusted that could help bring the creative vision to life. I’m so honored and thankful to have been one of those individuals. The experience was life changing.
What was the hands down best moment working on the film Black is King?
Just being on set and watching greatness unfold; Learning from and collaborating with the talented team of people around me and knowing that you are going to be a part of a historic project. That was a year ago and I’m honestly still a bit shook. Lol.