Arts & Entertainment – Black America Web
Hollywood’s lack of diversity when it comes to Black hair and makeup artists is nothing new. We’ve all heard the horror stories from numerous Black actors and actresses who’ve had to take their hair and makeup looks into their own hands due to the designated set stylists not being well-versed in Black hair or having any experience doing makeup on melanin skin.
For example, last year “Boy Meets World” actress Trina McGee opened up about the racism she experienced on set and how the lack of hairstylists forced her to have to create looks on her own. “I didn’t have a hairdresser on the set of ‘Boy Meets World,’” she told USA Today. “All those little micro braids you see, I stayed up all night doing them right before I went on national television for myself.” And in 2019, actress Gabrielle Union revealed that she was fired from NBC’s America’s Got Talent after being told that her hairstyles were “too black.” It seems that no matter what, there just aren’t enough stylists in Hollywood that know how to work with Black hair and melanin skin.
Disney’s High School Musical actress Monique Coleman is the latest Black entertainer to open up about her hair struggle on set, noting that her signature headband was used to cover up the fact that the crew didn’t know how to style Black hair. “We’ve grown a lot in this industry and we’ve grown a lot in representation and we’ve grown a lot in terms of understanding the needs of an African American actress,” Coleman explained to Insider. “But the truth is, is that they had done my hair and they had done it very poorly in the front.”
In the series and movies, Coleman played Taylor McKessie, the ambitious decathlon captain who hoped to become the first female president. Luckily, she found a way to make headbands part of her character’s signature style, suggesting to the wardrobe department that they “incorporate headbands into her character” and “just make that a part of who she is.”
In spite of the lack of hairstylists readily available to her, Coleman explained that she’s still very happy that her character was able to serve as a role model for Black girls who rarely saw themselves reflected on-screen during that time. “I’m really grateful to have been someone who was able to bring representation at a time where there wasn’t very much,” she continued. “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.”
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