I abhor the title of this article....Hollywood is not making you do anything. If you don't know your union rules about hair restoration and maintenance and assert them, frankly that's on you.
If u assume the cost of your hair and makeup, not only are u wearing urself out when u need to focus on long hours of performing, but the problem escalates and ends up costing black women thousands of dollars and the studios continuing to be racist.
U can request in the contract to bring your own make up artist and/or hair person...all of this can happen during the costume fitting or bring ur own wig, and product and let them know how much you will charge for rental and upkeep.
But stop doing it yourselves, you deserve to be cared for and your services demand it...
don’t let them off the hook...
if ur hair or make up person is not union, u can go to them bef the shoot and invoice the producers...but u need to negotiate this before you accept the job
if we don’t show people how to treat us (often fight for it), they will never learn...their bottomline is money, so they’re just trying to figure out how to get u to set...help them: set the terms
PLUS: hair restoration is required in your union handbook. As is maintenance. So if u need products, or a wig rental, u need to have ur agent negotiate that & fire them if they don’t...
No one can run roughshod over u unless u let them...know ur rights & assert them...
I keep a wig & product list on hand for my agents to send ahead of time
Phylicia Rashaad brings her own hair & make up person & negotiates this in her contract...
Calling Out Hollywood for Making Them Do Their Own HairNatural hair stylists are everywhere nowadays, except studio budgets.
When model Olivia Anakwe posted on Instagram on Friday venting that no hair stylists at the shoot she was on knew how to work with her natural hair, it sparked a conversation online that highlights an issue faced by black women in Hollywood. By Monday, black actors, including Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell and Gabrielle Union, gathered on the internet to voice their frustrations of on set hairstyling, sharing stories of paying for their own styling or risk putting their tresses in the hands of hairdressers who have little to no experience with black hair, often leading to some terrible or even painful results.
"Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair," wrote Anakwe, who ended up needing the help of other models and a nail tech to cornrow her hair. Actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen pointed out that stylists are not prepared for working on black hair, saying "too often [hair stylists] begin to 'figure it out' the second we sit in the chair." Figuring out how to manage black hair is, for some, a life-long endeavor and getting it wrong, as Union pointed out, could lead to bald spots or hair damage.
Some women, like actress Yvette Nicole Brown, mentioned bringing their own trunks of hair and makeupsupplies to set because stylists aren't prepared for black actors. That reality was echoed by singer/actor Melinda Doolittle, who tweeted that she does this to avoid "the inevitable look of panic when I walk in the door." Others pointed out that they have to convince directors of an easy style their character should have. But using your own stylist sometimes isn't permitted when working on projects that use unionized teams. Union harped on that point, adding on Twitter, “getting [stylists that can do black hair] in [the union] has NEVER been easy or smooth. Ever. Like never.”
This background sheds light on an issue studios rarely address. Meanwhile, in the past decade natural hair salons have taken off in major metro areas, and it’s easier than ever for women with all curl patterns to figure out the complex product equation that can deliver the best results when they have the money to do it. Twitter users were urging studios to invest in getting these curly hair gurus on their styling teams, especially considering they also know how to do the straight styles their unionized non-black colleagues are doing.
There are some corners of Hollywood that have been getting with the times, and defining it, however. Issa Rae’s celebrity stylist, Felicia Leatherwood, always makes sure Rae’s looks on Insecure look flawless. As she told The Huffington Post, with each look she thinks, “How can I impress a woman to want to try this hairstyle?” That’s perhaps not too surprising consideringInsecure’s dedication to the details, with the show's fashion and music becoming major cultural influences. Other shows like NBC’s This Is Us have also been pleasing fans by giving their black characters, like Beth Pearson (played by Susan Kelechi Watson), an array of Pinterest-worthy styles from braids to curly updos.
While there has been some progress, the outpouring on social media underscores one of the many issues that come with a lack of diversity in Hollywood both on camera and behind the scenes. Actress De'Adre Aziza tweeted a shout out to her black hair stylist, Lawanda Pierre, that nails the convo in the head. She wrote, “[Hair stylists are] out there, Hollywood simply had to care enough to hire them."
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""""One of the most mortifying moments I experienced in my theatrical career was when I was asked to bring the entirely African-American cast of a new musical we were workshopping, a new piece by an African-American librettist and composer, across the street to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and up into the plush boardroom so they could perform a song or two for the board of directors. I wanted to say something, but I didn't. For one thing, it would take an invaluable 45 minutes to an hour out of the creative team's limited time together. But... every year we had to do the same old song and dance for the board to remind them that yes, we did do new plays and musicals, so yes, it was sometimes a good idea to expose the board to new voices, to the vibrancy of an exciting work in progress.
You all know where this is going, don't you? I led the team in. The talent in that team! The writer/composer himself and the cast, lauded veterans of the stage and the most promising members of the next generation of acting giants. And there was our board. White, as white as can be, white white white white. And very comfortable. They'd just been served lunch, I believe. My theater spared no expense in pleasing our board and catering to their demands (oh my god, I'm feeling such rage right now! I'm pretty sure we had a staff member who was mostly dedicated to help our richest board members get house seats to shows on Broadway and the West End. But I digress...)
The only black face in the audience seated at the conference table? The only person of color? The head of our education department, of course. My heart went out to her.
The cast sang a song from the show. They did it. And they brought it. Because they were and are professionals. And the very pillars of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion reverberated down to the parking lot. It was breathtaking.
And I had just been complicit in the remaking of a scene for the millionth time: black bodies and voices entertaining white audiences, an institution raising money on the backs and voices of black bodies.
I was too mortified to apologize to our writer and to our cast, none of whom, I should add, expressed even an iota of discomfort. They were professionals, and they shone. And come to think of it, they'd probably all become accustomed to this scene. "It's just how theater works," they might have thought with a shrug of their shoulders. Or maybe they seethed inside, for the millionth time, when all they were trying to do is workshop a new musical.
Well, I apologize sincerely now to our writer and those actors. I wish I had had the courage to put my foot down. It is not how theater should work.
I quit the American theater on Valentine's Day 2016, so I've been out more than four years now. And honestly I don't plan to return, which is why I can write with such candor.
The heart of the problem, my friends, is with the non-profit structure, which is capitalism on steroids. Who are the bosses ultimately in an American institutional theater? The board of directors. Who are the board of directors? For the most part, those members of the community not with the strongest attachment to the art form but those with the deepest pockets. Often they're really not members of the community. They often just drop in. They are sometimes mere tourists.
It's no wonder that that board meeting was held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The theater, like most American theaters, had built its board of directors on the old opera model: You get the richest folks together, offer them galas and house seats and receptions and private recitals and showings (for which artists often don't get paid extra, mind you), you pamper them and make them feel more special and entitled than they already do, and then they'll write you big checks to support the kind of art they like, the kind of art they can bring their kids and grandkids to. AND they--not the artists, not the community--get to hire the institution's leadership.
It is a rotten model. Rotten to the core. How can any artistic institution claim to be working for and in the community with that model?
It's got to be torn down. It's got to be reinvented. And I have no idea what the next model will be. I really don't. And no, honestly I don't think government is the solution frankly. Some of the most bloated, self-satisfied, decadent theater I've ever seen was in Germany, where it was almost fully government-funded. Lots of bells and whistles and provocations and completely soul-dead.
I see amazing and galvanizing lists of demands recently being made and posted by theater artists of color. These are vital demands. But they don't address the central issue. As long as the ultimate bosses of an artistic institution remain the community's deepest pockets, nothing will change. Nothing. You'll be putting band-aids on a gaping wound. Sorry, but it's true.
So please figure something else out. Maybe for a few years you just avoid the institutions. You've already started. In the pandemic, so many of you are making amazing art without an institution. Find those who truly adore your work and ask them to fund it. Screw non-profit. Form a corporation and value your art art-making as a resource that profits you, your viewers/audience and your community. I have no idea.
But please don't return to a new version of the old. After the virus, after he's out of office, after police reform and nationwide conversations about race, after, after, after, begin something new. I can't wait to see what it is!”
Words: Pier Carlo Talenti
Video: Griffin Matthews
April Yvette Thompson