There are a lot of good things about the Internet.
For one, it's my primary source for adorable pictures of puppies and kittens, which is kind of my favorite thing ever. I lose count every day of the number of cute pictures and GIFs I share with my husband, and if I didn't have the Internet, I would be robbed of these supreme joy.
But the Internet is more than just adorable pictures. It's also an amazing tool for learning about the experiences of others and becoming more sympathetic human beings. Which is kind of what this whole "being human" thing is all about, right?
Recently, several black actors took to Twitter to share about the unequal treatment they receive from hair and makeup artists in Hollywood. Reading their comments was so eye-opening, and I wanted to share them with you, too. Maybe you'll relate, or maybe you'll simply have a glimpse of one of the ways society needs to improve in order to make the world a better place.
The trend started after model Olivia Anakwe shared this post on Instagram:Teen Vogue wrote an awesome article about Anakwe's experience.
It didn't take long for black people in the entertainment industry to share their own experiences with unequal treatment.
100% of Black Actor/Actress I've spoken to on this topic face the same thing in film and television. Hair Stylists… https://t.co/OWv1VcTKaC— Yahya Abdul-Mateen 2 (@Yahya Abdul-Mateen 2)1552160812.0
Actress Asia Jackson shared her own surprising story:
@yahya @MatthewACherry One time I literally rolled out of bed and showed up to set and the hairstylist looked at my… https://t.co/AJDsesrbQP— Asia Jackson (@Asia Jackson)1552254777.0
Often, black actors have to style themselves or pay for their own stylists to do the work.
Most Black actors get their hair cut or styled outside of set, often at their own expense because Hollywood hairsty… https://t.co/xPiZmNJDM8— V3rbal (@V3rbal)1552240525.0
Naturally, there are some stylists who do have experience with Afro-textured hair.
Don’t get me wrong there are White hairstylists who do both, but it’s not something producers usually think about u… https://t.co/IHMPqbEHvf— V3rbal (@V3rbal)1552241751.0
Soon, the #ActingWhileBlack hashtag started to pick up steam.
I’ve also had a hairstylist not touch me up because she was scared to touch my hair...meanwhile she was running up… https://t.co/VFASnVZxv7— Tiera (@Tiera)1552365627.0
This mom shared that she notices the same thing when she brings her daughter in for hair and makeup.
@YNB I have 7 y/o in the business with a big, beautiful Afro. I can't explain how many sets we leave where she is… https://t.co/XyDy7WplKo— Courteney (@Courteney)1552489707.0
And when they do touch the hair, they manage to mess things up big time.
In the 8yrs of Acting & modelling the amount of times after a gig I’ve had to wash unsuitable ‘gunk’ out of my daug… https://t.co/IN7cIyJQlj— Carol Ann Whitehead FRSA GGA The Zebra Partnership (@Carol Ann Whitehead FRSA GGA The Zebra Partnership)1552376017.0
Yvette Nicole Brown pointed out that black actresses often come to set with all of their own stuff.
Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either t… https://t.co/xNBtdh9Aly— yvette nicole brown (@yvette nicole brown)1552274883.0
If you don't come prepared, people might panic.
@YNB Omigosh! Anytime hair and makeup is provided, I bring my own everything so I’m ready for the inevitable look o… https://t.co/eH9F7ETycm— Melinda Doolittle (@Melinda Doolittle)1552330127.0
It's totally preposterous.
@YNB I ALWAYS arrive on set with my hair done... with ALL my products. https://t.co/AotBbk9grs— 💛Tamika Katon-Donegal 💛 (@💛Tamika Katon-Donegal 💛)1552286568.0
It is nuts that anyone should have to bring their own hair, makeup, and wardrobe with them to work.
Honey I have brought my whole glam kit, flat irons, pink lotion, Shea butter at times during a new set.. I’m tired… https://t.co/FlLW4XR9CG— Loni Love (@Loni Love)1552323559.0
Sometimes, even arriving prepared doesn't work.
@yahya I’ve come to set hair ready. I’m talking sleeping uncomfy in Bantu knots ready to GO and STILL. 🗣 STILL had… https://t.co/2hsRQT1NXK— Liz Jenkins (@Liz Jenkins)1552320664.0
This is actually pretty brilliant:
@YNB If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree t… https://t.co/uTD6KoA6VX— Gabby Sidibe (@Gabby Sidibe)1552340684.0
Funnily enough, expecting to just "get it" doesn't work.
@mdoolittle @YNB i personally enjoy the "ummmm's..." plus the confused looks that happens when their fingers first… https://t.co/lmlbIZpn9U— Shakura S'Aida (@Shakura S'Aida)1552359179.0
This made my blood boil:It really sucks that this woman probably thought she was being super "woke" by saying this. In reality, she was just being bad at her job.
Here's another person talking about the added cost:
@YNB We deserve 4 paychecks for having to be our own hair, make-up, wardrobe stylists AND do original acting job we… https://t.co/XKkcx5r1QY— Cherylyn/FabuNOLA (@Cherylyn/FabuNOLA)1552405823.0
The same type of bias exists when it comes to the wardrobe department.
#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists d… https://t.co/iXyBk8cVvI— yvette nicole brown (@yvette nicole brown)1552332876.0
And that's not the only issue when it comes to wardrobe...
@YNB #ActingWhileBlack I got fitted for a commercial and wardrobe handed me a shirt with a monkey on it to try on.… https://t.co/jvbLqysErS— Darsan Solomon (@Darsan Solomon)1552341510.0
And — surprise, surprise — makeup can also be a huge issue.I don't care how much experience that makeup artist had. There is ZERO EXCUSE for making this beautiful woman look like she does in the far-right pictures. ZERO.
Sometimes, the makeup artist might try to pull the "you don't need it" card:
A White make-up artist (who did my make-up very well) once told me if the make-up person looks at you and says “you… https://t.co/ErH8VDAGZR— V3rbal (@V3rbal)1552329627.0
If you're going on camera, you probably need makeup.
One music video I did where they didn’t bother to do my makeup bc my skin is deep and “appears” blemish free. SIS I… https://t.co/WTELx7vUid— BeenieTV (@BeenieTV)1552399600.0
If you don't carry a full range of foundations, you are messing up.Unless the person has been cast as a ghost. In that case, you maybe get away with this microagression.
Because it's the Internet, someone felt the need to pipe up with this "brilliant" advice.
@LoniLove Could be a learning opportunity. If the folks aren’t styling you correctly (clothes, hair, makeup) give t… https://t.co/kei8t5IM41— MM GM 🎄🎁🎅 (@MM GM 🎄🎁🎅)1552353025.0
Luckily, this Twitter user was there to put a stop to this problematic thinking:
@akaDafni @LoniLove So teach the stylists what they should have learned in school while getting their license?— A Black Woman Probably Did It First 🤷🏾♀️ (@A Black Woman Probably Did It First 🤷🏾♀️)1552371890.0
This is another acceptable response:
Also, shoutout to the stylists who A: Know how to hook it up! Or B: Acknowledge their limitations, bring in someone… https://t.co/eZY0AAH39k— Yahya Abdul-Mateen 2 (@Yahya Abdul-Mateen 2)1552348231.0
This is eye-opening:
The pressure to "just be happy they picked you & you got a job, don't ask for the SAME things every other actor/mod… https://t.co/iLzUoaRP34— Gabrielle Union (@Gabrielle Union)1552326499.0
Honestly, this whole thing sounds super stressful!
@YNB the entire process is stressful. This is me stressing over my hair before an audition, before a callback (bec… https://t.co/I65lkBfvNg— Liz Jenkins (@Liz Jenkins)1552320949.0
So, what's the solution?This issue can be attacked from several angles. First: Awareness. I am so grateful to the black actors who are speaking up and making it known that this is a problem! Second: We clearly need more black hair and makeup artists in the union! Third: All stylists need to be taught how to work with Afro-textured hair (as well as other physical traits that may not be prevalent in white people, like monolids and/or darker skin).
And before you go complaining about the people tweeting about this issue:
Those of us responding to this feed are sharing our unique experiences #ActingWhileBlack. No one is dying. We have… https://t.co/2XVJIwoTks— yvette nicole brown (@yvette nicole brown)1552340433.0