Dexter Thomas talks hair

Dexter Thomas

We love talking with cool people from all different backgrounds and when we spotted that Vice journalist Dexter Thomas was in the Bay Area last month (thank's Twitter) we invited him over to Morphic for some a conversation on his uncompromising hairstyle choices, and how it affects his work. 

Interview by MISHI NOVA     
Photos by CHRISTINA E. CAMPBELL


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Mishi: Hair says a lot about a person. You’re a serious journalist, and you're expressing yourself with your hair, do you feel like your hairstyle says something about the changing climate of journalism?

Dexter: It's something that I think about more than I probably should, and not my specific hairstyle per se. People say you should never read comments [on yourself], but I do because it tells you a lot about what people are thinking. And on YouTube comments, I’ll see people say, “you can’t be a serious journalist with that hairstyle.” Sometimes I do some fairly heavy stuff like the heroin epidemic or the [Oakland] fire, so people will say I’m ruining [the piece] because of my hair. Of all the things to be upset with in the piece, my hair is what ruined it for you? Of course, it’s not really about my hair, it’s about me being black and the fact that I’m expressing myself in a small way. It’s easier for them to attack my hair because it represents something else that they're not comfortable with saying. When you look at comment sections, women and LGBTQ journalists get attacked on an appearance basis. So, I can tell that it has nothing to do with my hair, it’s just easier to talk about than talking about my race.

 

It’s easier for them to attack my hair because it represents something else that
they’re not comfortable with saying. 

M: It must be hard because, at the same time, your hair makes you lovable too. I’m a fan because your hair says to me you’re being true to yourself. Did you ever think about that?

D: There have always been times where I've been made aware that my hairstyle is “not appropriate” for whatever I'm supposed to be doing. I would go abroad representing someone, and people would say “you need to cut your hair for this,” and I would say no. I was teaching on a high school campus, and I was banned from campus for wearing a [hair] pick in my hair. They said I couldn't wear a pick in my hair because it was “gang related” which obviously is not true. I did it anyway, and I was straight up told I couldn't come to the campus anymore. I say all that to say; I never set out to say, “I'm gonna ruffle feathers”, it was more kind of thrust on me. I like this hairstyle, and then people would tell me “you can’t do that, that’s not appropriate”. It would be very easy for me to say, “Oh okay, that’s not appropriate, so I’ll cut my hair” but see, I’m not gonna do that. I don’t want to say it’s resisting, but the idea that someone can come in and make me change something that I liked – I wouldn’t feel right about myself. I’m not willing to bend on that. So in my small way that’s how I say this is who I am.

M: You're talking to high profile people for VICE all the time, how does that work when you get someone who doesn't take you seriously?

D: The funny thing is, most of the people I work with, you wouldn't find us in front of the camera reporting the news. You could say it's “just window dressing” or that there’s nothing revolutionary about it. It shouldn't be revolutionary, but it is. The fact that someone says, “Hey Dexter we don’t want you to just talk to the rappers, musicians or athletes but politicians, congress people or scientists" [is important] because I'm capable of that. It’s not just me; it’s everyone on the show, you wouldn’t see them [other places] because the standard journalist is a straight white dude. We have this broad range of people, and for a lot of people, it takes a second to accept, this is who you’re gonna get to tell you the news, and you're going to take it and accept it. Eventually, you have to go "yea this is my source of information, " and I think that’s powerful. In 2017 it shouldn't be, but it is.

M: Last question, who does your hair?

D: This dude Larry at Good Barbers in LA does my hair. When I’m abroad or in upstate NY, and I’m not sure who can do my hair then I’ll do my own hair. I do okay on the shape, but the fade isn’t that good. 

Dexter Thomas

 

Dexter Thomas is a culture correspondent for VICE News, covering the intersection of identity and art. He previously wrote for the Los Angeles Times, where in 2015 he contributed to Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the shootings in his hometown of San Bernardino, Calif. Dexter is a PhD candidate in East Asian studies at Cornell University, and is writing a book about Japanese hip-hop.

Stylist Spotlight: Tee

 
Tee Morphic SF

getting to know Tee

5 things you don't know about me...

1. I started doing hair in my mom's garage when I was 12.

2. I don't watch enough TV and I'm really trying to be better at it. I've only been able to watch full episodes of Broad City.

3. You can delete your Yelp app because I'm the app in human form. If we're friends just text me for restaurant recommendations.

4. I feel like I hit the jackpot in my career. I get to be creative everyday and touch people's soul while helping them embrace their hair. I actually get to say work doesn't feel like work.

5. Remember Demi Moore's pixie haircut back in the 90's? I became obsessed with having it, and it led to one of the most traumatic haircuts of my life. It wasn't a flattering look for an already androgynous-looking little girl.

 

Lets talk hair

What hair trend do you love right now?

I'm loving enhancing natural texture. Bigger is better! I love the bed head look.

How do you take care of your hair?

I use the best products available to me and make it a priority to nurture it. I literally have to carve out time in my day to show my hair some love. #thestruggleisreal

Current favorite hair color?

At the moment I'm really digging well-done, sophisticated peacock colors.

Top three favorite products?

Dry shampoo, Dry shampoo, Dry Shampoo. Then more dry shampoo

 

 

check out her recent work

  Hair By Tee

Hair By Tee


Her Latest Reviews on yelp

"Best hair cut I've ever received. This will be my go to place for as long as I live in the Bay Area."

-PAUL

"I saw Tee on the total spur of the moment kind of thing.  Found her on Yelp and took a risk.  I have EXTREMELY LONG THICK hair and wanted to go short.  I showed her the pic and she told me what she could do and what I shouldn't do.  An hour and a half later She was done and I LOVED it.  My hubby loved it even more.  I'm so happy I went.  My family loves it too.  All the girls were very friendly, stylish and professional. "

-APRIL

"Tee slaved over my hair for SIX HOURS, giving me the perfect baliage.  Or is it balayage?  I dunno, but it looks freaking fantastic and beachy and gorgeous.  The best part is, I don't need to come back for a full 6 months (although I can come back sooner if I want it a bit brighter), and there is no demarcation line because it's weaved throughout.

I have a ton of hair, and she made the process so enjoyable.   Even letting me order lunch delivery!  It's such a cute little space, and I loved the living wall that they have.

Can't wait to go back to her for a cut.  I've gotten tons of compliments on my color already.  

Thanks Tee!"

-GERI C

 

STYLE SPOTLIGHT: LAUREN

Welcome to our second Style Spotlight! Lauren is rad as hell, and we just love her grey hair. She's so cool, let's just meet her already! 

 Want this look? Book the     Chroma Hair   service.

Want this look? Book the Chroma Hair service.

YOUR HAIR IS AMAZING. WE HAVE TO START THERE...

What inspired your hair look?
My hair inspirtation came from my favorite color grey. I wanted grey hair for years and extensively searched for a stylist who could help me achieve it. I went through one failed attempt a while back that faded to a horrible bleached blonde. A couple years ago I found Mishi and she agreed to embark on this hair adventure with me, the rest is history!

What is your hair regimen?
Because my hair is so heavily processed,  I try to take really good care of it. I rarely wash my hair—only once every couple weeks to preserve the color as much as I can between salon visits. When I do wash it I leave Olaplex 3 ($28) in my wet hair for 15 minutes, then use Rene Furterer's Okara Mild Silver Shampoo ($29), and leave it in for about an hour. Then I wash that out and do the Absolu Keratine Mask ($52 )for about 15 minutes. For in between washes I usedry shampoo. I try to use very minimal heat styling, but I've enjoyed practicing with my Caruso steam rollers. I'm so busy my day-to-day routine consists of brushing my hair and running out the door.

Blow Dry or Air Dry?
Air dry! With everything I do to get my hair color perfect, I try to use as little heat styling as possible! I usually blow dry just a bit so it's not soaking wet, then let it finish air drying. 

Top 5 favorite hair products?

  1. Rene Furterer's Okara Mild Silver Shampoo! ($29) It's my number one product for keeping my hair color looking great.
  2. Bamboo Kendi Oil ($25) I use it all the time, usually on my ends.
  3. Dry shampoo ($28) I used different brands, but it's a lifesaver since I wash my hair so infrequently.
  4. Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray—I love big hair, and this builds volume and smells amazing!
  5. Elnett—The classic! Still the best hairspray I've ever used!

What’s your best tip for someone with your hair on a budget?
Grey hair is probably not a great choice for someone on a budget. It takes a lot of upkeep and maintenance. I would say just be realistic about what you want to spend, but definitely only go with someone you trust and take really good care of it.

 Lauren is wearing  Harputs' Own

Lauren is wearing Harputs' Own

What is the coolest thing you own?
I have a WWII-looking rusted out bomb sitting in my living room. It's pretty awesome. 

What current fashion trend you're over?
I was hoping that trends were over! Really, though, I hope that the world's appetite for low-quality, cheaply made, trend-driven clothing decreases. It's bad for the environment, more often than not is made by extremely underpaid workers, and contributes to a culture of wasteful consumption.

Let's talk career...

What do you do for a living?
I'm the Director of Product Marketing a startup called Pantheon. I specialize in the developer tools space.

Coolest thing about your job?
I'm always learning. I have to be constantly learning new things and improving to stay engaged, and there's never a dull moment when it comes to my job. I also really love working with developers, who I tend to get along with well.

What are you passionate about?
I'm passionate about being the voice of the user, data, and always staying curious! 

And you live in San Francisco...

 Describe SF in three words...
"It's so expensive" 

Would you ever leave?
I'd like to live in Japan. And if our gentrification problem doesn't improve, I'm not sure I'll want to live here forever.

How long have you lived here?
I was born and raised in The Bay! I stayed for college in The Bay and have lived in San Francisco since.

What is the best way to decompress?
I love to play records, watch movies or Rick and Morty (the best show on television right now) with my boyfriend, go on hikes, and gardening.

 

FOOD & FUN

Who is your favorite musical artist?
Four Tet

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I've always wanted to be able to use the Force. 

Favorite word?
Galaxy

Favorite curse word?
Putain—a habit I picked up living in Paris and never shook!

 

What's the wildest thing you've ever eaten?
Hmm...I ate crickets and grasshoppers recently—that's pretty out there. They were really tasty. I've also eaten ox penis.

If you could have one last meal, what would it be?
There's a Vietnamese dish that consists of a whole roasted fish that you cook and then roll spring rolls with at the table that is simple but just so good, and reminds me of my childhood.

Name your favorite restaurants in San Francisco?
We're lucky to have such awesome food here.
I love Bar Tartine.  

 

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REAL TALK. WHAT IS THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE?

I was out in the desert shooting guns with my friends. We were trap shooting and I'd never shot a shotgun before. The guys weren't having much luck. When it was my turn, the guys were all about to make fun of me because the shotgun was about as big as I am and I was standing there in this billowing white desert getup with feathers sticking out of my hair. I did not look like I could do this. My friend started pulling and I started blasting those clay pigeons out of the sky, one after another. When I was done shooting, all my friends shut right up! I was pretty satisfied with myself.

Thanks, Lauren! 


 

Initially, when I did Lauren's hair I bleached it three times starting with the mid lengths and ends. Later, I do the roots since it has to sit for a shorter time then the rest of the hair. Her toner is the ashiest toner possible, which is 911 and 802. We always use the Olaplex and Powerdose treatment to keep her hair healthy.