Gabrielle Union has called out hairstylists working in Hollywood who have no idea how to style black hair.
Following on from model Olivia Anakwe speaking out against “texture discrimination” in an Instagram post, after a fashion brand failed to hire a backstage hairstylist with knowledge of styling textured hair despite booking her to wear cornrows during a Paris Fashion Week show, a chorus of African-American actors, including Gabrielle, Insecure actress and writer Natasha Rothwell and Community star Yvette Nicole Brown, also shared their frustrations.
“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),” the Bring It On star tweeted.
She also drew attention to the difficulties that black hair stylists face with getting into the industry.
“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,” she shared.
“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,” tweeted Love, Simon actress Natasha. “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!”
And actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen, who played Black Manta in Aquaman, sympathised with Olivia after she shared she was “ignored” and “forgotten” by stylists backstage, explaining the issue affects many black actors in Hollywood as well.
“100% of Black Actor/Actress I’ve spoken to on this topic face the same thing in film and television,” he said. “Hair Stylists in our industry should have proper training, AND be able to show proof. Too often they begin to ‘figure it out’ the second we sit in the chair.”