Ms. Hair and Humor & NeCole Cumberlander – Real Talk: An Inside Look at Black Hair and Culture

In honor of Black History Month, this special-edition podcast takes a different perspective as Winn Claybaugh interviews natural hairstylist, educator, and braid specialist Kamilah (also known as Ms. Hair and Humor), and professional beauty industry leader and beauty school owner NeCole Cumberlander. NeCole and Kamilah provide in-depth details about the history of Black hairstyling and the 2019 CROWN Act, a campaign to end hair discrimination nationwide. (Did you know that discrimination is still legal in many states?) Kamilah and NeCole’s conversation about what Black women have endured for decades by trying to “fit the standard,” as well as the natural hair movement, is educational and profoundly enlightening.

Kamilah, known across social media as @MsHairandHumor, made a major career change when she left the luxury jewelry business to pursue the beauty industry. After she earned licenses in both natural hairstyling and cosmetology, Kamilah’s passion fueled her purpose through the power of laughter and hairstyling. She accepted a major opportunity to work as the sole braider for Madonna’s 2019 Madame X tour, doing 75 shows over an 8-month period. That same year, Kamilah also joined the team of braiders who created hair pieces for Beyonce’s Black Is King film project.

Known for big hair and big laughs, “Ms. Hair and Humor” was born after Kamilah realized that women needed to take a serious look at their hair habits and how they impacted the condition of their natural hair. Even though the complicated relationship that many Black women have with their curls, coils, and kinks is no laughing matter, having difficult conversations that inspire women to make a change for the better is best served with a side of humor. Ms. Hair and Humor’s mission to empower women is fueled by her purpose to educate and nurture. As a positive self-image and self-love advocate, Kamilah reminds clients of their unique beauty. They leave uplifted and transformed through the power of hairstyling and, of course, laughter.

NeCole Cumberlander has been in the beauty industry for over 30 years and has achieved a plethora of awards and accomplishments. Like most hairstylists, she started behind the chair before becoming a national educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems.

In 1994, after several years of educating around the world, NeCole realized her dream of becoming co-owner of the award-winning Noir et Blanc Salon and Spa with her husband and business partner, Orlando. During her 15 years as a successful salon owner, NeCole was an active member and president of the Professional Beauty Association, the largest national salon business owners’ association in North America. Her passion and commitment for the beauty industry also led to her appointment to the Ohio state board of cosmetology.

In 2004, NeCole and Orlando opened Paul Mitchell The School Cleveland, followed two years later by a second location in Columbus, Ohio. Their business has grown to over 75 employees and 300 graduates per year, from both locations. NeCole is also the immediate past president of the Paul Mitchell School Franchise Association, and she is passionate about serving in ministry at The Word Church, being a wife for 30 years, and being a loving mother to Orlando Jr. and Skylar.