Black actors are calling out hairstylists who don't know how to work with black hair.


Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Hollywood is making an attempt to be more inclusive, but that doesn’t mean the needs of diverse actors are being fully accommodated just yet.

Actors and models, including Yvette Nicole Brown, Gabrielle Union, Yahya Abdul-MateenII, and Malcom Barrett took to Twitter to raise awareness of the issue.

Just because they’ve been cast doesn’t mean production hired a stylist who knows how to work with their hair. And while that might sound inconsequential to some, it’s actually a vital signal of the ground that still needs to be gained for true inclusivity and diversity in Hollywood.

“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!” Natasha Rothwell posted on Twitter.

Gabrielle Union seconded Rothwell’s thoughts. “What a lot 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 the min has NEVER been easy or smooth. Ever. Like never,” Union said.

They shared their experiences of having to bring their own products to set, which puts an additional financial burden on the actor.

“Most Black actors get their hair cut or styled outside of set, often at their own expense because Hollywood hairstylists are one size fit all and that ‘all’ does not include Black hair. This has been my experience for the last 20 years in the business & it hasn’t changed at all,” Malcolm Barrett posted.

“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!” said Yvette Nicole Brown.

“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,” Loni Love added.

And actors who don’t fit into “traditional” beauty standards face additional challenges.“#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubbypointed out Yvette Nicole Brown.

The discussion is important, because it raises awareness for an issue that could otherwise go overlooked.

Many stylists aren’t taught how to work with textured hair. Most black stylists learn how to work with different hair types, however the door doesn’t necessarily swing the other way. Stylists of different races should be taught how to do all types of hair.

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