Jesseca Dupart-Harris: For The Love Of Her City

What God has for you, no man can take away. 

Jesseca “Judy” Dupart-Harris—founder and CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products, and also a social media star, author and philanthropist—is living proof of this statement. 

A native of the Seventh Ward of New Orleans, and a sought-after hairstylist, Dupart-Harris embarked on a journey of faith in 2014—leading to the creation of a hair care line that now generates millions of dollars in revenue annually. A mere five years since its launch, Kaleidoscope has grown to become one of the largest Black-owned hair care brands in the United States; its distribution has expanded into multiple retailers, including CVS, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Sally Beauty and Meijer. In 2019, in recognition of Dupart-Harris’s business and philanthropic endeavors, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, alongside Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, presented the Kaleidoscope founder with the esteemed “Key to the City of New Orleans.”  

If that’s not a testament to God’s favor in her life, we don’t know what is. “I feel very strongly that if God gave you a vision—I don’t care if you live on Mars—it’s your responsibility to go after it,” says Dupart-Harris. “I feel like too often we put limitations on ourselves. We might see living in a small city as a kind of adversity. But I’m the type of person who would rather use that to my advantage. Because being from a small city—climbing the ladder, it’s a shorter ladder. It’s a shorter climb.”

Jesseca Dupart-Harris: For The Love Of Her City

July marks the 30th anniversary of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture in her hometown of New Orleans­—and it’s also a milestone for Dupart-Harris, who is celebrating 10 years of her hair product line. Renowned for its groundbreaking Miracle Drop System, the Kaleidoscope brand is synonymous with promoting optimal hair health and growth. 

Social media contributed significantly to Dupart-Harris’s journey, propelling her from entrepreneur to influencer status. However, her focus is on crafting a beloved product and fostering real connections with her audience, rather than making a superficial impression. “I feel like it is extremely important for me to stay in front of the trends, stay in front of the next social media platform that comes out,” she says. “I feel like some entrepreneurs get discouraged when the thing that they’ve been doing stops working. But because social media is so finicky, it’s almost like a way-weathered friend that changes with the wind. You can’t be married to the idea of how things are currently, because it’s always going to change.” 

Kaleidoscope has become a celebrity favorite—and even attracted Dupart-Harris’s now wife, rapper Da Brat, whom she met at one of the company’s brand events. A match made in hair heaven, the couple wed on February 22, 2022, and joyfully welcomed their son, True Legend, in July 2023. Already a mom of three adult children from a previous relationship, Dupart-Harris is once again balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship—with an infant on board. “Even though I have a new baby and three other children from early in my life,” she says, “my journey alongside that is to continue growing Kaleidoscope Hair Products. I missed a lot of stuff before. I missed a lot of time.” 

“This time around,” she continues, “I am trying to be very diligent about being more present. So in doing that, I’ve just been trying to build out a team, to be able to support our scaling and support our growth—so I can be more intentional about my time.” 

Jesseca Dupart-Harris: For The Love Of Her City

Kaleidoscope’s success in scaling is partly due in part to an ethos of inclusivity. This resonates through its advocacy for vibrant, healthy hair and its encouragement of individuals to cherish their curls, regardless of the unique attributes of their strands. With an array of products catering to various hair needs­—including natural, dyed, relaxed, short, long, braided and weaved—and also for those recovering from baldness or seeking regrowth, the brand has earned widespread acclaim for embracing diversity. It’s also praised for inspiring individuals to realize the fullest potential of not just their hair but their personal path.  

The road to success has not been without setbacks for Dupart-Harris. More than a decade ago, she faced a significant hardship when her salon, Kaleidoscope Hair Studio, was ravaged by fire. It burned to the ground, and she was forced to rebuild. Fortunately, she came back better than ever—Kaleidoscope Miracle Drops were figuratively forged from the fire. On dealing with that adversity, she reveals that were it not for faith, she would have been “completely insane.” 

Thankfully, the support of loyal customers also kept her going—and propelled her to where she is now, enjoying the realization of a dream that started with a mustard seed of faith in her hometown. For Dupart-Harris, you can take the girl out of N’awlins, but you’ll never take N’awlins out of the girl. It’s central not only to her life but to her brand. “I’ve moved to Atlanta, but I’m still New Orleans,” she says. “I still do a lot of giveback there. I incorporate its music and its culture; I can’t turn it off. It’s not like it’s something that I would ever shy away from.”

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2024 issue of ESSENCE magazine, on newsstands July 25.

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