High School Musical star Monique Coleman wore a variety of headbands in the 2006 movie and she recently revealed exactly why that was.
In an interview with Insider, the 40-year-old said it was because the crew didn't know how to work with Black hair. She suggested they make the headbands a part of her character's style in hopes of helping them avoid the hassle of trying to fix her hair in a short time before filming began.
"The truth is, is that they had done my hair, and they had done it very poorly in the front," said the actress, who played as Taylor McKessie.
It was hard for some people to fathom how hairstylists in the film industry have years of training, but never learned how to work with Black hair.
It's like Black people are brand new, like how did you go to beauty school and come out knowing nothing about the hair of half the human race???
— Hodan Jama (@Hodanhadal) January 26, 2021
As some people noted, the decision to use headbands reflected a lack of effort from the stylists.
so they just didn’t bother to put in the effort. “oh we ran out of time” so you didn’t care in the first place, just say that then. that’s so annoying. side note — shes FORTY?!!!
— terra (@diytaviasplanet) January 27, 2021
The controversy also circled back to the familiar discussion about lack of diversity in the film industry.
So hiring a Black hair artists wasn’t deemed necessary for the Black actors to feel comfortable?? ???? And since when is she 40?? ????
— Aaliyah J. (@aaliyahjanae_) January 27, 2021
Coleman continued to wear headbands in the 2007 and 2008 High School Musical sequels. She said she wanted her character to serve as a role model for fans who rarely saw themselves reflected on-screen.
"I'm really grateful to have been someone who was able to bring representation at a time where there wasn't very much, and I'm so happy when I see this next generation of young artists, and there just being so much more room for people of color," she said.
Part of the goal was also to break the stereotypes.
"Taylor is such a dynamic character and the smartest person at school and all of that at a time where, often, Black girl characters tended to be the ones who had an attitude or to be sassy," the High School Musical star said. "So knowing that this generation got to look up to her really is special for me."
According to Variety, actress Gabrielle Union plans to lead a conversation at the Black Beauty Roster (BBR) digital summit on Feb. 28., focusing on diversifying Hollywood’s beauty industry.
“Early in my career, I struggled to work with beauty professionals that were trained to work with my hair texture and skin tone,” Union said in a statement. “I can’t emphasize enough how important the work is that Black Beauty Roster is doing to transform the industry and ensure every individual who sits in a beauty professional’s chair walks away feeling flawless.”
The actress, who is the co-founder of the texture-specific hair care line, Flawless, has often expressed her concerns about the entertainment industry’s inability to consider the needs of Black performers.
“The lack of diversity in the LA unions is a real problem as well & the goal posts move depending on who is trying to get in,” she tweeted last year.