Natural Hair, Funky Style: Notorious K.I.A.
Kia Marie Davidson, better known because of her personality across the social media world as Notorious K.I.A.
In 2011, a broken ankle didn’t hold her back, but rather encouraged one vision that led to another. A world inside of Youtube with over 170,000 subscribers.
A self-proclaimed visionary and activist, Davidson is set on projecting her positive energy and being a vessel to empower people by using the stage she was given to perform.
“I’m all about social change and sending out a message, putting out good, positive energy and empowering people” said Davidson. “Being a revolutionary.”
Davidson was born in Brooklyn, New York, but traveled with her family and lived in other places like San Diego and New Jersey. The name “Notorious K.I.A” was partially influenced by Rapper Notorious B.I.G, who was also from Brooklyn. With her transitions, moving to different neighborhoods and being the new girl in school, her name began to create its own buzz because of her unique style, giving her right to proclaim the notorious title.
As a graduate of Temple University with a degree in Criminal Justice, Davidson currently works at a private law firm but is also known to the outside world because of her funky style highlighted by her big and bold natural hair.
In this era, an opportunity to grace the social media world with your presence comes by as often as the blink of an eye, but it takes strategic method and knowing your purpose to really stand out and stick.
“Ultimately, I always wanted to inspire people. Not necessarily be a role model,” said Davidson. “But someone who gives knowledge and empowers; be in a position where I’m making change or being a part of that change.”
In 2011 after playing in a league game of football, Davidson found herself on bed rest for two months with nothing to do because she broke her ankle. This sudden obstacle prevented her from doing her usual activities which consisted of her fashion blog and wardrobe styling.
The two months of bed rest and pain medication that caused unwanted breakouts on her face was anything but discouragement for Davidson. Instead, it led to the revelation that began her grand entrance onto Youtube.
A casual search on the internet to find remedies that clear acne led Davidson to discover the many videos on Youtube that provided viewers with reviews, makeup tutorials and more. This became an “aha” moment for Davidson.
“It’s a whole other world and another culture, I was just blown away.” said Davidson. “I thought well if these girls can do it, why can’t I?”
It was not an instant success story for Davidson. Since her ankle forbid her from going out and continuing with her styling jobs, Davidson made a decision and said it’s time she makes her first video. The video she posted on Youtube revolved around fashion and showed viewers how to distress high waisted jean shorts.
The video might not have taken off right away for Davidson, nor did she expect it to because the quality of her video was grainy and not the very best. Yet, gradually viewers began to comment and the numbers grew.
“I’m still at the bottom and still working,” Davidson affirmed. “I wouldn’t appreciate it if it was kind of like an overnight success.”
With 714,409 views on that video that aired four years ago along with her 149 videos posted, Davidson said the comments still come in loads on the one that started it all.
It was a gradual process and with the challenges and competition that came about, she still finds ways to work towards reaching a grander scale and building a brand with her name.
“They want to see your personality, they want to connect,” said Davidson. “That’s what stops your growth, when you’re not relatable.”
For someone like Davidson, she believes that when you have a platform where people from different countries are paying attention to your every move, you have to be mindful of what’s put into the atmosphere and also be personable.
It can be an intimidating field and she has to be very tactical and careful not to alienate any groups out from her circle.
“It’s all about how you market yourself on social media,” said Davidson. “I’m working on building and expanding my audience because there’s always room for growth.”
For Davidson, without having any prior intentions, her decision to embrace her natural hair has led her to many opportunities that she’d never expect to happen.
She has been fortunate to work with brands that have required for her to travel out of state for hair expositions and events like Beautycon. Recently, she has done two videos in partnership with Google and interviews with a designer.
“I’m getting better opportunities, even though I feel like I could do more, I’m still putting stuff out there” Davidson revealed. “This is what I want to do, this is what I’m passionate about. I’m waiting for big sponsorships.”
Aside from Youtube, Davidson would like to take her degree in Criminal Justice and find a meeting point where her creativity can unite with her desire for activism.
Becoming a role model isn’t the intention for Davidson, but rather becoming someone who empowers others, both women and men.
In the mean time her goal is to interact with others who are within the same field as she is and continue to do more and put more out there to showcase what she is all about.
Though she stands for so much more than her hair and fashion videos, this natural hair guru is aware that her hair on its own is a statement and silent activism. Women have begun to embrace and accept their hair in its natural texture.
“Natural hair has seriously changed my life and it wasn't a conscious effort to go natural,” said Davidson. “This is how it grows out of my head, and I’m not going to conform or straighten my hair to make you comfortable.”
A typical week for Davidson consists of working her nine-to-five at the private law firm then heading off to after-work networking events for natural hair. From working all day at a job that she isn’t essentially passionate about, winding down with others who are looking to reach similar goals as her, is refreshing to Davidson.
As for weekends, a usual Saturday would begin with meditation and tea. Davidson spends a minimum of six hours between planning her next video for youtube, recording and editing, all before she finally decides to award herself with food for the first time that day. Sponsored videos are usually at the top of her list before her own personal videos are recorded.
With Youtube fame comes pressure to remain consistent and motivated, something that is a challenge for Davidson.
“I’m a chronic procrastinator,” said Davidson. “A natural at making videos and being creative, but the biggest challenge is to stop procrastinating.”
For Davidson, though she is gradually learning to overcome the challenges of her own enemy of procrastination, that doesn’t stop her urge for creativity to continue doing videos and express herself through her personal fashion.
Individuality and being yourself is something that Davidson always puts out into the atmosphere. Growing up, her mother taught her how to stretch money and buy things on sale. She took everything that she learned as a kid into consideration and it plays a major role in her funky style today.
“Always go to the thrift store with a little bit of faith, you can come up with some really nice outfits,” said Davidson. “It’s all about affordable fashion, being who you are and not following trends.”