Model Olivia Anakwe sparked and discussion on Instagram about on set hair styling; venting that hair stylists at shoots generally are clueless when it comes to working with Black hair/natural hair.
Anakwe expressed her frustration with “texture discrimination” in Hollywood after she was booked to wear cornrows during a Paris Fashion Week show but there wasn’t a hairstylist backstage with knowledge of styling textured hair, Vice reported.
Several black actors, including “Insecure’s” Natasha Rothwell, Gabrielle Union, and Yvette Nicole Brown, shared their own experiences and noted how they often bring their own hair and makeup supplies to set because stylists aren’t prepared for black actors.
“Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair,” wrote Anakwe. Peep her lengthy IG post below.
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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
Putting their tresses in the hands of untrained hair stylists could lead to permanent hair damage, as Union pointed out.
“The pressure to just be happy they picked you & you got a job, don’t ask for the SAME things every other actor/model gets on GP,” she wrote on Twitter. “Listen, if u stay quiet, u WILL have bald spots, hair damage, look NUTS (tho they will tell u its cuuuuuuuuute).”
The pressure to “just be happy they picked you & you got a job, don’t ask for the SAME things every other actor/model gets on GP…” Listen, if u stay quiet, u WILL have bald spots, hair damage, look NUTS (tho they will tell u its cuuuuuuuuute 🥴) https://t.co/vBMFla2cQ2
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) March 11, 2019
But using your own stylist often isn’t permitted on unionized projects and Gabby stressed that point, writing on Twitter, “getting [stylists that can do black hair] in [the union] has NEVER been easy or smooth.”
“What alot [sic] of non-industry folks don’t realize is that u can’t just use [your] normal hairstylists/barbers/makeup artists on a union job (most jobs are union) Those artists HAVE to be IN THE UNION & getting them in has NEVER been easy or smooth. Ever. Like never,” she shared.
Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019
Yahya Abdul-Mateen, who played Black Manta in “Aquaman,” shared how she has been “ignored” and “forgotten” by hairstylists and how “too often [hair stylists] begin to ‘figure it out’ the second we sit in the chair.”
Actress De’Adre Aziza summed up the convo with a tweet noting that a “[Hair stylists are] out there, Hollywood simply had to care enough to hire them.”
PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who’s “comfortable with it” but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.
Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion! https://t.co/A1Q9ZpvXmH
— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019
PHOTO: PR Photos
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