Tell me about yourself.
Will: My name is William Quincy Humphries. I feel like I was born to be this extra human being. I am African American and a recent graduate of Brown University where I studied health and human biology. The plan was to go to medical school immediately after college, but I started this business in the summer right after junior year where I would recycle furniture that kids were throwing out on the street and resell it to incoming freshman. I loved it and found myself in a weird spot where I had to question whether I wanted to go to medical school straight afterwards or venture out and study entrepreneurship. So I made the tough decision after college to not go to medical school and instead figure out the world of entrepreneurship. I have a YouTube channel that I am growing where I teach younger kids how to take care of their natural hair. It's super self-care focused. It's been difficult trying to survive after college. I hustle 24/7 because I know I have to support myself.
How are you growing your channel?
Will: So many people ask me this question. Yesterday a friend asked me this, but I'm such a go with the flow kind of guy. I sort of just take it step by step. I also work hard all the time. I don't necessarily worry about what I'm going to put out there. I just do and I create when I'm feeling creative and then when I feel like uploading something I'll just upload it. It's not necessarily that I have a plan when I'm creating. It's more about working hard every single day. It's about creating what you want when you want then giving it to the people on your own terms. I knew from the start, I had to be myself and not exhaust myself. I didn't want to go into this world where I had to consistently produce something especially if my brand is me and I'm creating from me and I'm producing things from me. When your constantly taking from yourself and giving to others, it can be super exhausting. You can lose yourself. I think it's important to know your pace and create when you feel creative and to give yourself time when you don't feel creative and not fall into the trap of thinking you have to be consistent all the time.
What are your beauty struggles?
Will: Growing up, I remember a lot of people telling me I couldn't have long hair. I remember seeing it among a lot of my friends including myself; we all had our first haircut. It's sort of a celebrated thing in black families where men always have the first hair cut and so many moms are excited to take their kid to the barber shop to cut off all of their hair. It becomes such a routine for black men and it became a routine for myself. We never really think about what it means to have long hair as a man. So I tried to grow out my hair like Corbin Bleu and I got so much push back from my family and friends and even myself. I didn't know what people were gonna say about me. The main comment that I got was "You are not a girl. Why are trying to grow out your hair? You are not a girl; your gonna look like a girl." When I got to college, I started having conversations about masculinity and hair and black men and how we restrict boys from growing their hair because they will look "too feminine" and what that means down the line with their ability to take care of themselves and remain sane mentally in a world full of toxic masculinity.
Today, my beard is my main beauty struggle because I avoided growing my beard for so long because of the same reasons. I felt I was pressured by the media to grow a beard to affirm my masculinity. I wanted to think about it before I went ahead and grew out my beard. Some people might say it's not that serious, but you have to be critical of anything that is damaging to your mindset and how you view your own self and your own body and your own beauty. So being critical of growing out a beard was my way of doing that. I'm at a stage in my life where I'm growing out my hair and I'm unapologetic about that. I'm in control of myself and I'm doing just what I want to do. I'm seeing this whole beard culture that has whole pages on Instagram and channels on YouTube just dedicated to growing out a beard and I feel empowered. Now, I'm growing out my beard unapologetically and I'm just trying to figure out how it works. It's sort of different down on my chin versus up on my head. I'm just learning the ins and outs of beard care.
What makes you feel unstoppable?
Will: This is an easy question for me. So I was the only boy in my household growing up and I saw my mom take care of 3 kids by herself. We have been through so much; we’ve been homeless at times. I’ve been in foster care for 10 years in and out and throughout all of the things my family and I have been through, my mom was so fearless and continued fighting to make sure to give us a better life. It's so wild to me that someone could have that much strength and go from being homeless to fighting to get her kids out of foster care to still showing up for their education. That strength inspires me every single day. Whenever I'm tired or complaining about something, I'm like wait… Your mom is bionic. She took care of three kids by herself, homeless, still fed us, and we were still clothed for school. She did whatever she had to do to make things work so whenever I'm frustrated with something or something isn't working out, I just think about my mom and how she fought through so many hardships in her life to get to where she is today. We are not in a great place now, but we’re alive and I appreciate that so much. I can do whatever I put my mind to because my mom took care of us for so long.
How has community been important for you?
Will: Immediately after starting my YouTube channel and Instagram, I knew I wanted it to be community-oriented because I think there's power in having multiple people affirm you in what you are doing and in seeing other people who look like you or doing the same things as you and succeding at it. The main focus of my YouTube channel was making sure I was engaging with the people who watch my videos and making sure they were engaging with each other so that we were all inspired from every direction to continue taking care of our hair and taking care of ourselves. I think community is important to me because it carries over time to future generations. If you are a lone wolf and not sharing your knowledge or your shine with other people in the community, then some of that shine will dwindle over time. Community keeps the lessons alive for future generations to benefit from and to move upward and onward.
What’s your self-care routine?
Will: My YouTube Channel is all geared toward self-care. Taking care of my hair is taking care of myself and my blackness. Black hair is something that is highly scrutinized in the media. So taking care of my hair makes me feel good about my blackness. It's become one of my main self care routines. I like taking care of my hair for me and not for anyone else's approval. “Hair is the feeling that we wear”. We are so connected to our hair emotionally and physically that taking care of it does your mind good. Also I love a glass of wine and a throw back 90s tv show like Girlfriends, Living Single, That's So Raven, or Lizzie McGuire. Any of those shows and a glass of wine takes me out of the complicated time we are living in now. It takes me to a simpler time when I was younger. Third is Beyonce, a little bit more of Beyonce and some more Beyonce. My favorite songs right now are Get Me Bodied, Deja Vu, and Green Light by Beyonce.
Keep up with Will on his journey: