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Black actors are calling out Hollywood for a lack of black hair professionals on sets

15 March 2019, 11:07

Gabrielle Union, Ashleigh Murray, Yvette Nicole Brown.

Picture:
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)/Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

By Nicky Idika

“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.

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

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?

me: Facts on Facts on Facts on Facts https://t.co/PaXyTfHck2

Ashleigh Murray (@iamamurray) March 12, 2019

Gabrielle Union even explained a little bit about why black actors can’t just bring their own stylists onto sets.

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 ne to be done about getting more of these skilled hairstylists into the union pipeline.