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Jua Cali: I started plating my hair because of my parents

Legendary rapper Jua Cali says he started plating his signature afro hair when he started his music career because of his parents.

Jua Cali credits his parents for the success of his musical journey. Growing up at a time when parents were very conservative, and society was very judgmental, plating hair for a male child, and even worse, pursuing music as a career, was perceived as throwing in the towel as far as life goals were concerned.

The King of Genge Jua Cali. PHOTO | FILE

Although members of his extended family, uncles, aunts, and family friends felt that Jua Cali was losing his way and urged his parents to rein him in, this never happened.

“I started plating my hair when I was 21, I had just started singing. Of course some people didn’t like me plating my hair and having long hair like a woman, but my parents were cool with it. My mum was a drama teacher, so she had no problem with my hair. My father was a maths teacher and naturally calm. They never had a problem with my hairstyle, even when asked to keep me in check.”

Also read: Jua Cali: How fame denied me freedom

But that wasn’t the only freedom Jua Cali enjoyed from his parents.

“We grew up at a time when the living room was somewhat sacred, it was only preserved for visitors and children were not really allowed to spend time there, but my parents allowed me to use it for rehearsals. It’s this freedom that has made us pursue music with conviction and see where we are.”

Jua Cali, a father of three, says parents need to be visionary in their parenting styles.

“It’s important that parents are forward thinkers, you can’t be stuck in your ways, if my parents were stuck in their ways I wouldn’t be where I am today. Our parents were forward thinkers and they understood that you don’t necessarily have to end up in a white collar job if there is another option. Besides, there weren’t many white-collar jobs even then.”

Pursuing his dreams with his parents’ full blessing, Jua Cali earned his first million from a music-related deal in 2007 when he was chosen to be the face of the Motorola W smartphone launched in Kenya.

Also read: Jua Cali: TikTok has given me confidence to release my latest album