Rolling Out

Arrogant Tae marks Black Hair Independence Day with international master class

The hair guru is a trusted expert among celebs and everyday women

Dionte Gray, affectionately known as Arrogant Tae, is one of the most in-demand hairstylists in the country. His remarkably gifted hands have fashioned coiffures and styled the bundles of today’s most envied and celebrated stars and influencers. As the Black community prepares to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the CROWN Act, Tae says he is happy to see Black women embracing their unique creativity and expression in how they choose to wear their hair.

Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair was started in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition in partnership with then-state Sen. Holly J. Mitchell of California, to ensure statutory protections to hairstyles such as braids, locs, twists and knots in the workplace and public schools.

“Our hair is an extension of our personalities and I believe a woman should wear her hair however she feels beautiful,” Tae says.

Tae’s ascent to hair care superstardom began in Chicago when the burgeoning stylist was a young boy hanging out in his mother’s hair salon.

“I grew up in the hair salon watching my mother and aunts do hair. I loved seeing how women changed when they entered the salon compared to when they were turned around and saw themselves in the mirror after their hair and makeup were done. A Black woman’s confidence is on 10 when her hair is done and I loved watching everyday transformations,” Tae shares.

Arrogant Tae marks Black Hair Independence Day with international master class
Image by Amadeus Purcell

The master stylist recalls falling in love with the trendy designs he witnessed come to life in the salon. “Back then, there were a lot of angles and layers to styles. [Whether] shaved with a swoop or stacked layers in the back, it was much different than the trends in hair today,” he reminisces.

Naturally, Tae would apprentice in his mother’s salon, replicating some of the hairdos he saw created by his mother and aunties, but soon he would come to create his own signature style.

“For my generation, wigs are a big thing, so I started trying to find ways to make wigs look as natural as possible and to bring my own creativity to it,” Tae explains.

His method of making lace front wigs appear as natural and close to the scalp as possible began trending on social media. His wig designs were so well received that patrons and hairstylists encouraged him to expand his clientele and circle of influence, and he soon found his services being requested by some of the biggest names in pop culture.

From Teyana Taylor to Keyshia Ka’Oir and Nicki Minaj, Tae’s popularity as the stylist to the stars reached new heights. He became an indispensable glam expert, treating every opportunity as though it was his last.

“I’m a perfectionist, and this is my passion so I give it my all every single time,” Tae explains with a smile while reminiscing about his work on the  iconic “Barbie Dreams” video with Nicki Minaj.

“Nicki showed me what she wanted and advised me to hire a few people to work for me on the video. There were numerous wigs that needed to be colored and cut and styled and I had to install and remove each and every one of them quick[ly], because with her, time is money,” he recalled. “I told her I didn’t need an assistant or anyone else to help me. It was important for me to color, style and cut each wig myself because I knew exactly what the vision was. I did every single wig and installed each one and was on time. Some people couldn’t believe it, but I knew I could do it because that’s how seriously I take my work.”

Arrogant Tae marks Black Hair Independence Day with international master class
Image by Amadeus Purcell

Tae’s commitment to both the creativity of his craft and the professionalism of being a successful entrepreneur, makes him one of the beauty industry’s best. One week after Black Hair Independence Day on the anniversary of CROWN Day, Tae will travel to Europe for a weeklong Flawless Master Class where he’ll provide instruction on his hair design techniques to women across the pond.

“I didn’t realize it before, but there are some really dope hairstylists and makeup artists in Europe. I love keeping up with their trends and what they are doing through social media, but I’m very excited to take my class there,” Tae confides. “I love teaching and helping people develop their own styles. Some people have a problem showing someone else their technique, but I realize that’s how you grow. I want to make sure you get it and are able to execute because that helps my brand grow if I’m teaching people that can execute flawlessly.”

Tae confesses he is happiest when he is able to fuse the client’s creativity with his own. “I manifested working with Kylie Jenner,” he reveals. “She flew me out to do her and her girlfriends’ hair for Halloween and they let me just do me. I love when a client trusts me enough to let me bring my own interpretation to their vision. It’s the highest compliment, and I am going to do my best to deliver above and beyond their expectations.”

Images by Amadeus Purcell

Stylist: Kerene Graham

Makeup artist: Sarah Linns

Model: China Brown

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