Black hair and makeup in the fashion industry is largely avoided.
This morning, I did my usual social media rounds and noticed a Black model in a J. Crew ad whose hair wasn’t done. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Victoria’s Secret let their website model be photographed with a similar hair situation. I’m sure we all remember that tragic segment on the Today Show in which the Black woman’s “60 second hairstyle” resembled being caught in a tornado. All of these models have beautiful hair, even if the “edges aren’t laid.” However, I take issue with the way fashion brands disregard Black hair and makeup.
Black models are often expected to do their own hair and makeup. Meanwhile, their White counterparts just have to show up. Models of color show up to set with their own products. Most of the time, the predominately White glam team won’t even carry the appropriate makeup shades to accommodate them. This is ridiculous. It is literally your job to carry makeup for everyone and you can’t even do that? What’s even more absurd is that the brands that employ these artists don’t bat an eyelid. There’s a video where a Black model shot a timelapse of the glam team completely avoiding her before a show. Even Naomi Campbell has to do her own hair and makeup for shows sometimes!
“We gave you representation, what more do you want?”
Overall, we want qualified hair and makeup artists that can work on all hair types and skin tones. There are many talented makeup artists and hairstylists of color. Most of which are forced to learn how to work on all races, not just the one to which they belong. If brands are having trouble locating capable artists, they simply aren’t looking. We need more people of color in marketing and PR. Also there needs to be people of color that act as liaisons for companies. The reason why things like this happen so often (and will continue to happen) is because there is no one in the board rooms to bring attention to these issues. Until then, don’t feel like you deserve a trophy for the minimal effort you’ve put forth. Also, don’t be surprised when people of color stop spending money with you in lieu of more inclusive brands.