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Stay Ready: The Journey to Black is King

Stay Ready: The Journey to Black is King

By LaToya Hentz-Moore

Meet celebrity hairstylist Jared Henderson, affectionately known as JStayReady. He discovered his passion for styling hair as a student at Jackson State.

“Here I was at Jackson State, Thee I Love, with all my beautiful black queens and they had nobody to do their hair, so I stepped in. I literally did hair everywhere I could—the dorms and even in the library.”

Since college, he has worked with a long list of celebrities including Saweetie, Naomi Campbell, Keke Palmer, Cardi B, and Doja Cat.

A short time ago, he had the privilege to work as a stylist for Beyoncé during the filming of “Black is King,” which serves as the visual companion for the 2019 album, The Lion King: The Gift, curated by Beyoncé.

“Everyone that knows me, knows I wanted to work with Beyoncé. I consistently prayed and manifested about this goal, and I knew whenever the time was right, the Lord would make a way for me,” JStayReady said. “I know this opportunity was God because of how organically it all happened.” In 2017, while preparing to move to LA, he posted a wig video and hair tutorial on his personal Instagram page. From that video, he received a message from Nakia Rachon, a hairstylist based in California.

After several Instagram convos, the two exchanged numbers and soon developed a friendship that extended beyond hair.

JStayReady says, “Even though Rachon was a dope chick that I enjoyed talking to—I didn’t look at her IG page immediately.”

When he did, the stylist noticed the first photo on Rachon’s IG was Beyonce. Not just one photo, but several photos of the megastar.

“I thought, ‘That’s weird. Maybe she’s just a fan like everyone else,’” he says. “There is no way. I know all of Beyoncé’s hairstylists. I know who she works with and I have never seen her name or face before as it relates to Beyoncé.”

To confirm, the stylist called Rachon, asking, “You work with Bey?”

She responded: “Yeah, it’s a new thing. I just got on the team, and I’m doing small things like taking care of her natural hair, and I also style her children’s and mom’s hair.”

“Wow, that’s really amazing,” he said. “Well, if you ever need me for anything, make sure you let me know.”

JStayReady didn’t press the issue because he and Rachon were new friends. After moving to LA, they linked up several times and he would casually remind her that he was available to help with anything Beyoncé related.

During a brief phone call, Rachon asked him to be on set at six in the morning.

Her vagueness meant she couldn’t provide details, and he knew it was regarding Beyoncé.

“Of course, I agreed. I didn’t know it was a film at the time. I didn’t know anything. All I knew was that it was Beyoncé and Parkwood related, and Nakia needed my talent. I showed up for her.”

“I saw literally everything from Beyoncé to the dancers. I made wigs and hairpieces. I got to touch a lot of people and it was quite lovely,” he said. Each stylist was interchangeable. There were three head stylists and he was a part of the additional stylists that assisted them.

Pausing for a moment, he said, “I get chills thinking about how organically it happened. It was the most amazing experience of my life.” He says this experience has taught him that “No matter what, stay ready.”

JStayReady accredits his success to “faith, strong work ethic and Jackson State.”

“It’s great to be in big magazines, blogs and other publications, but nothing means more than sharing my success story with Thee I love.”

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  • Judy
    June 2, 2021, 5:45 pm

    Coach Gorden was such a great man, husband, father, grandfather, coach, leader, etc. It was an honor to have known him. He was the best. He prepared athletes for life, not just football.