Black actresses are speaking out on the inherent racism involved in Hollywood’s lack of hairstylists who know how to style Black women’s hair.

NBC News spoke to several Black actresses about their experiences with hairstylists who lacked the knowledge to style Black hair. Halle Berry said her iconic short hair was born out of necessity, not a conscious attempt at trendsetting.

“That’s why I had short hair. [Maintaining] it was easy. I think as people of color, especially in the business, we haven’t always had people that know how to manage our hair,” she said. “Those days are different now, that’s when I started,” she told NBC.

“It’s mind-blowing to me that we still have to…fight to have Black hairdressers on set for us,” said Tia Mowry-Hardrict. “There was one time, in particular, I was doing this movie and, my God, I was the lead. And after this person did my hair, I cried. I was like, ‘I cannot, like, I cannot go out there looking like this.’ I just don’t understand why you have to fight to get someone to understand the importance of that.”

Even younger actresses are finding it hard to have their hair properly styled on set. On My Block star, Sierra Capri said she could relate to the struggle “100 percent,” adding how it’s a relief when she can find a stylist who can style Black hair. “We want to look good and feel good and we want to feel our best. If we feel that we have someone that understands us and understands what we want and what we need, then we’re gonna feel great and we can do what we came to do,” she said.

Queen Latifah has started The Queen Collective with Proctor & Gamble to tackle gender and racial equality in the film industry. Latifah said that stylists haven’t succeeded “not because their heart wasn’t in the right place–they just didn’t have the skillset to do Black hair.”

“…We are always in a position to be able to work with what white people do. That’s just how it’s been, but it has to be reversed,” she said. “It has to be some respect over here and figuring out what to do with our hair. So we just really need to add more people in the industry.”


5 Black Women Filmmakers Who Made History

Photo: Getty Images

From Harlem to Hollywood, get the Black entertainment news you need in your inbox daily.