The movement began when model Olivia Anakwe shared her frustration via an Instagram post while preparing to walk the runway during Paris Fashion Week.
View this post on Instagram
This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin
According to Teen Vogue, Anakwe was told to arrive backstage for show preparation with her natural hair. When she arrived, she was informed she would be rocking cornrows during the program. However, several hairstylists refused to do Anakwe's hair because they were not trained on caring for and styling Black textures.
Blavitize your inbox! Join our daily newsletter for fresh stories and breaking news.
Eventually, a Black nail technician was pulled from her post to tend to the rising star's mane.
Anakwe voiced her frustrations in a lengthy post saying, "This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a Black hairstylist!"
Her criticism was instantly seen by longtime Black thespians like Gabrielle Union and Yvette Nicole Brown, and they rightfully used their platforms to single out creative directors who fail to provide diverse stylists on set.
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 🥴) https://t.co/vBMFla2cQ2— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) March 11, 2019
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! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019
"One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya!" a portion of Brown's tweet read.
Timeless actor Malcolm Barrett also joined the conversation, noting that Black actors are often forced to arrive with their hair pre-coiffed on their dime.
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. https://t.co/3kniFzAET5— Verbal The Rapper (@malcolmbarrett) March 10, 2019
The Real co-host Loni Love also chimed in, saying she began bringing her make-up to set after being "tired of looking grey."
The growing concern revolving around self-expression through hair within the Black community has sparked conversation from Hollywood powerhouses to elementary schools. Blavity reported in January about a Texas mom who refused to cooperate with a school's demands that she cut her son's dreadlocks.
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😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/sP8fEmGKcS— Loni Love (@LoniLove) March 11, 2019
More recently, a law banning discrimination against individuals based on their hairstyles was just passed in New York City.
Now, check these out: