Black Actors Are Calling Out Hollywood For Always Hiring Hair/Makeup Artists And Stylists That Aren’t Prepared For Them

We know people of color face myriad struggles in the workplace, but a recent conversation on Twitter has expanded this list to include something most people probably never think about: hair and makeup on film and television shoots.

Model Olivia Anakwe recently took to Instagram to call out hairstylists on modeling shoots who don’t know how to do Black hair.

After an experience at Paris Fashion Week where a hairstylist improperly handled her hair in a way that often makes Black hair break, Anakwe was forced to appeal to her fellow models for hairstyling assistance.

“This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills.”

View this post on Instagram

This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on

As writer Jessica Andrews of Teen Vogue, who covered Anakwe’s post, puts it,

Being a black woman who works in fashion and beauty means there’s no way you haven’t encountered a hairstylist — at a runway show or press event or photo shoot — who doesn’t know what to do with your hair.

Anakwe’s story struck a chord on Twitter with actors and actresses of color, who quickly began sharing stories of their own mishaps.

As actress Yvette Nicole Brown recalled on her Twitter feed, most Black actresses bring their own hair products–including wigs and hair pieces–to ensure their hair is done properly on a set, and they don’t leave home without their own make-up kit either.

And a fellow actress summed it all up in one tweet:

Brown continued, pointing out that sometimes this lack of knowledge even extends to the wardrobe department:

And the messages kept on coming, including from some recognizable names.

And Brown also pointed out that this places an undue monetary expense upon Black performers that… kinda amounts to a “Black Tax”!

So what’s the solution? Well, it’s actually pretty simple.

As Anakwe pointed out: if you’re a Hair and Make-Up Artist, GO TAKE A CLASS:

“Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field, you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class.”

And as Insecure actress and writer Natasha Rothwell pointed out, people booking hair and make-up artists for shoots could, you know, just make sure they’re hiring someone who’s actually trained to do hair and make-up on non-white people. 

In other words: make the effort, do the work. What a concept!

7K Shares