Profile: Candace Kelley, Journalist and Entrepreneur

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[Black Star Profile]

It’s only natural that this vivacious, multi-media journalist wears many hats. 

Candace Kelley was raised in a funky, artistic household as one of three girls to parents who were educators.  Like many folks from the 50’s and 60’s era, and similar to the migration of the 1930’s, Candace’s parents came North to fulfill America’s promise of a good education for themselves and their children, unfettered by racism.

Candace’s mom was a pianist and her father the recipient of a choir scholarship to college.  Actually, her parents met at choir practice.   A household teeming with mom, the pianist, dad’s strong tenor voice in choir rehearsal, and all types of instruments strewn around the home, begs one to wonder about Candace’s decision to go into law. Candace said, “I had a natural ability to speak well and that seems to fall along the lines of becoming an attorney.  When I was an undergraduate at Howard University, I won a speech contest and ended up on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Forensic Team.  I won this competition and received a scholarship.  I was really trained to be an orator and I was a political science major.  So law school seemed to be a natural progression. So after I graduated, I mixed my law degree with television and worked with Court TV.  Ever since then, I have been in television recording, shooting, editing, doing documentaries and things of that nature.  Even the fields my sister and I are in are somewhat related to entertainment – I’m in television, and I have an older sister who is an executive at Sony and one who is an actress in Hollywood.”

We wondered if Candace had impediments to reaching her goals.  To this she responded, “My parents would always share with me stories of the things that happened in the South and things they had to overcome.  We certainly knew of the obstacles we could face because we were often the only Black people in various arenas, and still are in many situations, but there’s nothing I can think of worth noting or highlighting.  We were integrated in school, but certainly our church life, social life and our friends were always African American.  My parents planted the seed that education was the key, because at the end of the day, if you have the same degree as the next person, you would probably fair very well.”

Changing hats slightly, Candace is the hostess of “League of the Extraordinary” on 89.7 WGLS-FM.  This weekly half-hour radio telecast features guests who are ordinary people with extraordinary lives or stories. Candace has interviewed guests such as Angelo Ellerbee who has worked with celebrities such as Mary J. Blige, Dionne Warwick and DMX to define proper
etiquette and image improvement; Lexington Steele, a Wall Street broker turned well known porn star; Bishop Fred Rubin, former Orthodox Jew, married to an African American woman who now leads this predominantly black Pentecostal church; and Baron Hilliard who is on a 365-day bicycle journey through black America  to highlight all the positive things that happen in the black community, to name just a few.   When asked whose life story she feels inspires the black community the most, Candace said, “We are historically religious people, and when I came across the story of this Jewish man who…I don’t know if inspiring is the word, but it certainly for me was worth looking at in more depth because it really spoke to the opposite of what we are used to hearing.”   The documentary based on this marriage is currently in post-production.

One more hat change.  Hair being your crowning glory epitomizes Candace’s natural locks.  Except for two years in the 80’s, her hair has always been completely natural.  After seeing Candace wearing her natural hair in this beautifully textured style on TV, so many women approached her to find out how this look was achieved, Candace thought to save time repeating her formula and Curl Prep Natural Hair Solutions was born.  Initially it was an informational website.  “In the 80’s we didn’t have all of these natural hair products, so I was making my products”, Candace noted.  

The problem a lot of women have with their natural hair is the shrinkage, making it difficult to manage.   Candace’s homemade products give the elongated natural hair desired.  She received so many suggestions to bottle her product that she looked into the process and found it doable.  Now two Whole Foods stores in New Jersey carry Curl Prep Natural Hair Solutions, and two more stores also in New Jersey will be debuting soon.  Plans are in the works to crossover to New York in February.  Candace said, “Once you’re in the system, other stores start to pick you up – it sort of happens in progression.”  Here Candace was able to put all of her skills into play – use of her law degree to deal with the patents, video editing and journalism.  Curl Prep Natural Hair Solutions broke records at Whole Foods after Candace gave a demonstration of her hair products.  She was approached by more than 100 women seeking or purchasing her products.  Power to the natural!

It’s only natural that Candace has found time for philanthropic work.  Candace and friends are putting together a reinvention seminar for people who want guidance in “how to” develop their ideas.  They’ll offer assistance in copyright procedures and free websites, among other services.

Finally, Candace offers this advice for following your dreams, “If you have an idea that you can’t let go of, follow it.  No matter what job you have, you should have something on the side.  There are so many things you can do now with the Internet, you don’t need a physical setting to operate from.”

Follow dynamic Candace Kelley at and  

League of the Extraordinary – 89.7 WGLS-FM

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