Tallahassee, FL

Florida A&M Co-developed Haircare Brand Gathers Influential Black Women for Crown Conversations

Aloha Melani

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Pictured L-R: Julee Wilson, Scottie Beam, Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Kéla Walker(Wakati Hair / Noire_MGMT)

Wakati, A New Haircare Line Announces "Crowned Series" to Celebrate Complexities of Black Hair

On August 4, 2021, The Crowned Series debuts. The three-episode series is a social-facing campaign by Wakati Hair, an emerging haircare brand by Kao USA Inc., the makers of Ban® antiperspirants; Jergens® and Curél® hand and body lotions; Bioré® facial care; and John Frieda® Frizz-Ease®, to name a few.

FAMU Collaboration

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Co-Developed with FAMU post(Wakati Hair / Instagram)

Kao USA collaborated with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) located in Tallahassee, FL. This first of its kind partnership for Kao USA proved invaluable to the creation of the Wakati brand.

"To say the collaboration with FAMU was groundbreaking for Kao is an understatement," says Kenya Foy, U.S. Marketing, Wakati. "The faculty and students are truly an outstanding group of individuals who got to make their mark on creating a brand that will meet a true need state. This is only the beginning. We plan on continuing our partnership with FAMU and in the future expanding our support to other HBCUs across the country."

With diversity and inclusion in mind, Kao worked with the FAMU School of Business and Industry’s Dean, Dr. Shawnta Friday-Stroud, to make the collaboration happen. Kao presented its business scholars with the marketing challenges of Wakati.

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Jade Fryer, Business and Industry Student intern - FAMU(Jade Fryer / Instagram)

Not only were the FAMU students able to convey the consumer need, but they also created the brand marketing, and packaging design. The students were able to create brand elements that spoke to the cultural and functional benefit of the Wakati line. The results of this collaboration truly shaped what Wakati looks like today.

FAMU students, faculty, and alum can be proud of a line that touts, "The Wakati brand design & business plan was developed with Florida A&M University business students" on its packaging.

Wakati Hair Line

Wakati is a brand that truly stands for its consumers and understands how special the natural, textured hair consumer is. Wakati, meaning "time" in Swahili, represents how generations have used natural hair to connect with their ancestry, showing how the beauty of Black culture can be represented through hair.

Wakati, a brand eight years in the making, was developed to answer the question, "Why are there not more effective hair care formulas specifically designed for natural, Black hair?"

The first product in the collection is a patented water-activated conditioner. This innovation provides optimum moisture designed to give women the power to finger-comb detangle, soften coarse hair, and helps reduce shedding. With Wakati, natural hair is overall more manageable, so naturalistas can spend less time styling and more time enjoying their kinks, curls and coils.

"We knew we had a stellar formula, one that would deliver against the needs of modern women who embrace the natural hair movement," says Foy. "For an audience traditionally overlooked by mainstream brands/products, we asked ourselves how we could create a product collection that would truly enhance the lives of our consumers and decided the best way was to go to the source –consumers with highly textured hair."

The four product line is available at Target and on Target.com, Walgreens and Walgreens.com, and on Walmart.com

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Wakati Product Line(Kao USA / wakatihair.com)

Wakati Water-Activated Advanced Conditioner - ( $11.99; 8oz / $18.99; 16oz) - The Wakati Conditioner is activated by water, traveling natural hair's kinks, coils and curls, depositing moisture along the way. The patented finger-combable formula provides slip that unlocks tight knots and smooths rough cuticles to seal in hydration.

Wakati Sulfate-Free Shampoo - ($11.99) - The Wakati Sulfate-Free Shampoo delivers balanced cleansing to gently remove build-up while prepping your hair for optimal conditioning. Specially formulated for natural hair, this shampoo will help detangle strands without leaving your hair feeling stripped. 

Wakati Oil-Infused Cream - ($11.99) - The Wakati Oil-Infused Cream seals in the right touch of moisture for slip and added shine. Infused with nourishing oils, this leave-in cream locks in moisture to hydrate curls and help control frizz.

Wakati Re-Activating Conditioning Mist - ($11.99) - The Wakati Re-Activating Conditioning Mist hydrates and refreshes curls for a smooth finish with added shine. This non-aerosol conditioning mist deposits moisture along each strand to soften and nourish hair so that your curls are soft and defined on wash day or day 5. 

Source: Wakatihair.com

The Crowned Series

The Wakati three-episode Crowned Series features influential Black women operating in spaces such as beauty, entertainment, philanthropy, and activism with open and honest dialogue about the Black hair journey.

The series is hosted by media maven, Kéla Walker. She will feature a dynamic panel including activist and host of Undistracted Podcast, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, writer/image activist/producer, Michaela Angela Davis, Beauty Director at Cosmopolitan, Julee Wilson, and media personality, Scottie Beam.

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Writer/image activist/producer, Michaela Angela Davis(Michaela Angela Davis/Noire_MGMT)
"Only Black girls have the distinction "protective styles". That's a metaphor for how we have had to move through the world. There's this need for protection, but at the same time, (there's) this ability to shape shift, communicate, create, (and) to defy all through the lens of our hair." ~ Michaela Angela Davis Episode 1 "The Crown Series"

The series provides an opportunity for transparent conversations delving into the beautiful complexities of Black hair. Wakati's Crowned Series boasts Black girl camaraderie and candid conversations that will resonate with generations of girls and women to come.

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Scottie Beam - Wakati Crowned Series(Scottie Beam / Instagram)
"The AHA moment is realizing that the focus was ON your head because they fear what's IN your head." ~ Scottie Beam on workplace discrimination Episode 2 "The Crown Series"
Learn about the Black hair journey or to celebrate FAMU, Florida, and or textured hair pride by tuning in. Full episodes of the Crowned Series will air on Youtube, and www.wakatihair.com.

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