Don't you just love when celebrities and big-time beauty brands get together to give back to the community? Such was the case at the SoftSheen Carson Roots of Nature "Picture of Strength" event which took place last Saturday in Chicago. Hairstylist to the stars (and First Lady Michelle Obama) Johnny Wright, host Niecey Nash and the evening's performer, newly-blonde songstress, Ameriie, got together at the Chicago Illuminating Company for the event, which benefited Chicago Youth Centers.
At the event, attendees received a free family portrait, complimentary hair styling by SoftSheen Carson Celebrity stylists, complimentary makeovers by professional Maybelline New York makeup artists and free product giveaways. Amazing, right? What's even better is that for every attendee, SoftSheen Carson made a donation to Chicago Youth Centers.
Before the event, Ameriie (@itsmeameriie) caught up with yours truly to talk about the SoftSheen Carson event, her new album and that blonde hair! (Above is a picture of Ameriie and I when we first met at my old magazine job when her hair was black - sidenote: don't you love our shoe game?).
Coutura: What made you change your look and go blonde?
Ameriie: I wanted to do it for a long time but at that time, I was dying my hair jet black and was hesitant because platinum blonde is the complete opposite. But I finally went for it, and we dyed it as blonde as we could while keeping my hair healthy. I actually wanted it to be whiter, not too yellow.
Coutura: How have people reacted to the color?
Ameriie: People say to me: do you feel weird? How does it feel? And I say, I feel like me. You can always change your style up. Hair is an accessory. It doesn't have to be the same forever.
Coutura: Did you cut it too? That's always a monumental experience for us women (laughs). What was that like?
Ameriie: I never actually cut my hair. I'll tell you a secret. While people wear weaves to make their hair longer, I actually put in a partial weave to make my hair shorter (laughs).
Coutura: (Laughs) That's cool, so you're still protecting your hair underneath.
Ameriie: Yeah my hair is really, really long underneath. I'll probably go back to long after this.
Ameriie: That's to be expected. There are people that tell me "Oh my goodness, I love it so much!" Others say "Oh no, I don't like it all." Anytime you make a major change, that's going to happen. When I first went jet black, for me, it felt too much. But as far as the criticism, that's just life. You can't internalize it or take it personally. There's no need for me to get angry or upset.
Coutura: I hear you. I've always been bold with beauty and fashion choices and I'm like, "You don't have to like it...I like it."
Coutura: What products would you recommend to keep your hair healthy after you color it?
Ameriie: What I like about SoftSheen Carson Roots of Nature is that they use shea butter and green tea extract, which are really cool ingredients. Their stimulating scalp oil is my favorite for keeping your scalp and hair healthy.
Coutura: Your hair is always so beautiful and shiny. What do you do to take care of it?
Ameriie: Satin pillows are a must...or satin bonnets, which aren't always so cute (laughs). But every now and then, I'll sleep with that on. Use a protein treatment when you color your hair. Massage the scalp; don't overload it with oils. Oh, and never use your fingernails when you wash your hair. You can damage your scalp; use your fingertips instead. Take multivitamins, Fish Oil and Vitamin E supplement. I take them everyday.
Coutura: Great tips! So tell me about the new album. How have you evolved? How is it different from your last album?
Ameriie: It's completely different! It's not a hip hop, R&B, soul album at all. It's called CYMATIKA Volume 1, I'll have other volumes as well.
Cymatika is the study of visual sound. They'll put sand on a plate that is hooked up to wires and with certain sounds, vibration goes through to the plate and creates a geometric shape out of the sand. You'll go from C note to D note and when you change the note, the sand's formation changes. When you go back to C, the sand goes back to its original formation. It's fascinating.
As humans, we're all energy and light and spirit; and sound plays a part in that because sound is simply vibrating energy. That's what this album is about...about life and who we are, not being afraid to be who we are, and not forgetting our spirit.
Coutura: How would you describe the sound of the album?
Ameriie: The album is influenced by new wave and acid house, which I explored in my album "Because I Love It" in 2007, which was released in Europe.
For the fans who heard that, they'll say "Oh, I could see this coming." For fans who loved the first album, they're going to be like "What is this?!" (laughs) But I grew up listening to everything, and this is where I am now. And it feels right for me.
Coutura: Going back to visual sound, I know you recently changed your name (from "Amerie" to "Ameriie"). Is that related at all?
Ameriie: I added an extra "i" because the vibration of it is very positive. But that's just me, it's not related to the album. I've wanted to do that for a while, just like with my hair color. You know, a lot of times we make decisions based on fear and are scared about what other people are going to say. I think once we realize that we should relinquish that fear, anything is possible because there's nothing holding us back. And this music just really reflects me following my passion and letting go of fear and embracing where I'm at right now in my life.
Coutura: So empowering! Speaking of empowerment, I'm sure you're excited for this weekend in Chicago with the Chicago Youth Center and Softsheen-Carson event. Tell us all about it.
Ameriie: It's great because this event, the Softsheen-Carson Roots of Nature "Picture of Strength" event, benefits the Chicago Youth Center (CYC), which has so many amazing programs like one where underprivileged students receive backpacks full of school supplies. Niecey Nash is hosting it, and I'm performing. And for everyone that comes, Softsheen-Carson is going to give a donation to the CYC. There are going to be family portraits and Johnny Wright will be there doing hair for free! A huge treat for the women and their families.
Coutura: Oh, I'm so jealous I can't be there (laughs). Have a fab event!
Check out some pictures from the SoftSheen Carson Roots of Nature "Picture of Strength" event, which was indeed fabulous, and look out for Ameriie's new CD, CYMATIKA Volume 1 which comes out next Spring and her first single which drops next month. Follow her on Twitter at @itsmeameriie.
Ameriie on the red carpet at the SoftSheen Carson Roots of Nature "Picture of Strength" event
Ameriie, Johnny Wright and Niecey Nash before event
Ameriie performing at the event.
Shop Ameriie's favorite SoftSheen Carson Roots of Nature products below.