Black actors are calling out Hollywood for a lack of black hair professionals on sets
15 March 2019, 11:07
"This is the sad reality of the industry and a stress of mine on every project..."
Black actresses are speaking up about the lack of skilled professionals with experience in black hair available to them on Hollywood sets. Actors and actresses from shows like Riverdale, Community, Mike & Molly and more have shared their experiences of having to do their own hair before a shoot or bring their own styling tools to set.
After Teen Vogue tweeted out an article talking about model Olivia Anakwe's call for more hairstylists who are knowledgable about black hair, other models, musicians, actors, and performers started sharing threads describing what they'd experienced in the industry with regards to having access to skilled stylists.
Many talked about how they'd brought their own materials, wigs, and extensions to set.
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
Omigosh! Anytime hair and makeup is provided, I bring my own everything so I’m ready for the inevitable look of panic when I walk in the door.— Melinda Doolittle (@mdoolittle) March 11, 2019
Honey I have brought my whole glam kit, flat irons, pink lotion, Shea butter at times during a new set.. I’m tired of looking grey with red lips😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/sP8fEmGKcS— Loni Love (@LoniLove) March 11, 2019
These actors have had to bring their own supplies on set in case the stylist available is not experienced in working with black hair and beauty.
While others like Riverdale's Hayley Law recounted waking up extra early to do their own hair before an early call time.
Waking up at 3am to do my hair for my 5am call time. ITS NOT RIGHT.— Hayleau (@hayleau) March 12, 2019
Hayley's Riverdale cast mates Ashleigh Murray and Vanessa Morgan also spoke up about the issue being stressful for them as working actresses.
"This is the sad reality of the industry and a stress of mine on every project..." wrote Vanessa.
world: what can I get you this morning?— Ashleigh Murray (@iamamurray) March 12, 2019
me: Facts on Facts on Facts on Facts https://t.co/PaXyTfHck2
Gabrielle Union even explained a little bit about why black actors can't just bring their own stylists onto sets.
Important Thread! 👇🏾 What alot of non-industry folks don't realize is that u can't just use ur 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. https://t.co/vBMFla2cQ2— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) March 11, 2019
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
Diversity in Hollywood is important but it doesn't mean much without inclusion. Inclusion in this instance means making sure that there are qualified and skilled professionals on set who have the tools and expertise needed to style black hair.
Black hair is very versatile which means that someone with skill can create gorgeous styles for black actors and models. The fact that so many actors, models, and performers are speaking up about this issue means that something needs to be done about getting more of these skilled hairstylists into the union pipeline.