Can We Get a “Hell Yes” For All the TV Shows and Movies With Black Hair and Makeup Teams?
The late Cicely Tyson had so many poor experiences with white makeup artists early in her acting career that she vowed to not watch herself on screen. “By the time we were finished, we looked gray rather than Black,” she said in an interview. “It was very uncomfortable to look at yourself because it didn’t look like me.”
Unfortunately for actors of color, the diversity hasn’t always extended to the crew behind the scenes, especially in the hair and makeup departments. For years, Black actors have had to get their hair cut or styled outside of the set, pay out of pocket, and pray the finished look wasn’t ruined by white crews. Failure to have artists who can accurately service Black talent hinders Black authenticity.
Although there is still a lot of education that needs to happen, a handful of television shows and films have worked hard to change the narrative by hiring Black hair and makeup teams to move the industry in the right direction. These talented people of color are responsible for the iconic looks we see on Insecure, Black-ish, and more. By curating a team of Black professionals, these series and movies respect the Black actors by showing up for them and providing the tools for them to thrive.
With Hollywood now taking inventory of its history of systemic racism, we hope the TV shows and films ahead will help to normalize and celebrate Black hairstylists and makeup artists on screen.
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