Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This writer got wind of Jennices aka Dr. Jennices Edwards PhD (that’s Phenomenal hair Designer), when she performed at Sentinnel Newspaper’s Yes I Can Banquet in December 2006 at the Renaissance Grand in downtown St. Louis. She was rapping and singing performing with a group of dancers and a huge Frankenstein styled cast on her broken foot. Come to find out, she also choreographed as well as produced the talent portion of the banquet. In a way, she epitomized the title of that a banquet: Yes, she can--even with a broken foot. .

Fast forward to the fall 2010 and Edwards is still on energy mode as she guns for Hollywood prepping to star in her first independent film, as well as writing for some national recording artists and a soundtrack to modestly funded movie.

Jennices has been dubbed the PhD of hair in St. Louis.

Born in St.Louis, specifically Vernon Avenue, the Sumner grad—who was born Jennifer Deity Edwards-- is a Jill of all trades—singer, rapper, actress, dancer, songwriter and producer . But most people know her as a “weavologist” whipping women’s tresses into shape at Mane Event Beauty and Barber Salon on Olive in U City. Since she could remember, Edwards has had a fascination with hair.

“When I was three-years-old, I saw the “Thriller” video and I told my mom that I wanted my hair just like Ola Ray in the video, “she recalled. “ I knew right then it was about the hair.”

Edwards, who got her name from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, has traveled across the country doing many hair shows including the popular Bronner Brothers Hair shows in Atlanta and as a hair stylist, she has worked with the Fox Network, The R. Kelly Tour, recording artist, St. Louis and St. Charles Fashion Weeks and more recently the Devin Alexander Welcome Home Event that was held at St. Louis City Hall and televised on HBO Network.

With all the success that she has had doing hair, her desire is to be a performer. As a youngster she won several awards at various theater competitions in the St. Louis area. When she was ten, she got her first taste of the music business when she met a STL rap superstar’s father and formed the group Girls Comin on Strong.

A pic of Jennices in a Bronner Brothers hair show in Atlanta.

“My cousin one day told me that Big Howard, (rapper) Chingy’s father, before he was Chingy’s father, was telling me, yeah, I got a homeboy who got a studio at his house and he wants to start a group,” Edwards said. “ So me and some of my cousins recorded there, I helped write songs, arranged them, was fun, but nothing really happen from that.”

As Edwards persevered, she found out that she had a certain look for modeling and acting. During a chance outing with family at an area mall, a talent agent discovered her which led to her signing with John Robert Powers Agency and modeling at various malls and getting booked on many commercials for such products such as Milky Way, Mattel Toys and Cheerios.

During her high school years, she performed in talent shows, continued modeling, as well as”fixed”hair on the side. She excelled in hair styling to the point where when scholarships to fashion and cosmetology school were mailed to her high school, everyone from teachers to peers wanted her to pursue a degree in hair but she as well as her parents were against it.
“I didn’t wanna be a beautician,” she confided. “ I was like, ‘I’m gonna be a rapper what are you saying?’”

At the time, she declined the scholarships because she was about to sign to an independent deal with Honee Comb distributed through Sony Records after a showcase she performed in St. Louis, but after the label’s CEO Jason Brown was murdered, the deal fell through.

Jennices performing in 2006 with a broke foot, the entertainment she produced OUTTOWN spotted her at the Sentinnel 's Yes I Can Banquet.

Meanwhile, various teachers helped nurture Edwards in her acting and singing talents. One in particular was Jackie Watkins, her mentor, who was a chemistry teacher at Sumner High School She helped enroll Edwards at the Central Visual Performing Arts High School in the school’s Honors Music, Theater and Dance Program..
“She said to me that I didn’t belong here (at Sumner)," she said. She said, ‘You’re very talented. I need to put you somewhere to explore your gift.”

After high school she had gone full speed ahead on her dreams working as a singer with many St.Louis rappers, The Rams Squad, local production companies such as Fyre Boy and many music showcases in and out of St. Louis notably rappers Nas and DMX’s labels Ill Will Records and Bloodline Records respectively. But many of her opportunities were sidelined because of the politics of the music biz .
“I been doing showcases forever and nothing popped off," she said."I had offers with labels but when you don’t have proper representation and you’re a girl, this industry is so treacherous, everybody wanna try and sleep with you. I’ve never slept with nobody to get a deal. A lot of girls do it. I’m just not her. I guess it’s my downfall to some degree.”

After receiving advice in NYC to get her demo together for the possibility of getting signed, she returned to St.Louis to work on it, but she got sidetracked.
“I got caught up with these boys,”she confided. “But, I wanted a regular life a little bit. I mean, when you’re chasing your dreams for so long, you get disappointed, you cry. I didn’t mind being a housewife.”

So in 2006, she got married. Since 2006, she had a baby. And, between 2006 and 2009, she worked at her former employer’s beauty shop, Shi Salon on Olive in downtown St. Louis. There, she got her hair style training from salon owners Marie Simone and Lady Cee Cee who helped make her “ Dr. Jennices Edwards PhD.” She also said her soon to be ex-husband, even helped in her becoming a doctor of hair.
“He used to said to me, ‘Man, they (hair clients) start coming in (the salon) like you know who and come out looking like Beyonce. You’re a hair doctor,’ So I kinda coined it. Dr. with PhD. Hair designer. A professional designer. But it’s just God working through my hands.”

Jennices promo shot for the film "The Normal."

The nation had a chance to see her magic with hair when she, along with her salon colleagues, Abracadabra and Skylar were chosen by the casting department of the reality show “Split Ends” in the summer of 2009.
“When I found out we were chosen, I was pregnant at the time and when we did audition at the salon, I was running late,” she remembered. “So, I went down there and did the audition, putting on my smock and gloves getting’ all dramatic with it and they called us back and they wanted to book the salon.”

Edwards was ecstatic when she found out she was traveling to Beverly Hills, Calif. to swap shops and work with Elgin Charles in his salon.
“We were so happened and I wasn’t even supposed to be the one selected,” she confided. “ They chose Abra and Skylar who was in Atlanta at the time. So they postponed the trip until I had my baby, waited and sent all three of us to Beverly Hills.

Edwards said the experience on the show changed her life.
“God gave me a taste of what’s to come,“she said. “ They (Beverly Hills salon employees) thought we were gonna be country bamas and hood. You know, we showed up and showed out. When the cameras were off, I got pulled to the side and they were like, ‘you know you the bomb and you need to be in Beverly Hills. But, the producers couldn’t show that because we were supposed to be feuding."

Edwards said after the show aired, Shi Salon’s phone was ringing off the hook and Edwards got many offers to style hair but it got overwhelming.
“I just had my son and I had to take a chill.”she said.

The cast of "The Normal"

But she believes that God is giving her another chance to pursue her dream in the entertainment biz. In June, her agency. Explore talent informed her about auditioning for a starring role in the supernatural thriller,“The Normal,” written and directed by Britain born and Columbia, Mo resident Paul Robinson. She talked about how she landed the lead role.
“He (Paul Robinson) saw my bio and info and wanted me to audition, so I auditioned in Alton, for the director, mind you I was the last person to audition, “ she said. “I thought the audition was that next day, but I looked at the calendar and it was like an hour and a half away from being closed. So when I auditioned, he was like,‘Oh my God, you’re perfect. He then asked me how long have I done acting and I told him since I was born.”

Edwards said she will start filming “The Normal”in Columbia,Mo. in late September playing the lead role of Alice, a news reporter who happened to get pregnant by the chosen child. The film expected to wrap in November of this year and to be completed in time for next year’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January.

In regards to her musical projects, through a connection during her early showcasing days, she landed a gig working with award winning producers Teflon Don Da Legend and Diyee and writer Shawn Dre.She is currently working on projects for JamieLynn Spears, rapper/singer Ceelo, Adina Howard and Ginuwine to name a few. And, she is also working on an undisclosed soundtrack to a modestly budgeted Hollywood film.

“The Jennices project is gonna be the biggest project to come out of St. Louis since Jospehine Baker,“ She said confidently. “It’s gonna be really big. Praise God!”


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