How to Support Black Hairstylists and Makeup Artists Through Black Lives Matter

Hairstylist Tippi Shorter says that for the first time non-Blacks are seeing how ugly people of color have been treated. In her opinion, while the obligatory urge to support is great she wants it to stretch further. “We are having conversations with the gatekeepers in beauty that we’ve never been able to have before and I really hope this sparks a massive change,” says Shorter. What she wants most from the change directly aligns with the desire of her beauty comrades. “I want consistent and sincere representation. I don’t need or want handouts. I want all of the same opportunities that my peers have,” says Shorter.Add Natural and Textured Hair to Your RepertoireLafond is challenging non-Black hair stylists to make curl care and natural texture education mandatory in all salons so that services are available to anyone who walks in. Oakland, California-based hair colorist, Jessica Kiyomi, agrees: “The amount of non-black hairstylist who refuse to learn how to do black hair even when they live in areas with Black people is disgusting and disheartening,” says Kiyomi. Despite the Bay Area being extremely diverse, Kiyomi says that there are only a small handful of non-black stylists that she knows of who can care for and style curly hair.Be Intentional About Inclusivity”We want representation on all platforms — not just the ones that you need a black perspective or a black face for,” Lafond wrote. Makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff concurs. “[Brands] need to make sure they are not just culture vultures and actually hire Black people as publicists, account managers, talent bookers, and creatives on not exclusively Black and brown people shoots,” says Sheriff.Thomas would like to see this level of representation brought to the forefront as well and not just behind-the-scenes. “I want to see all hair textures, especially tighter textures, on the ads for these companies. I want to see all skin tones, especially darker skin in ads. I want to see us included because we spend billions of dollars on beauty and we are constantly getting ignored or pigeonholed into the box, and not being allowed a larger platform” says Thomas.Let Us Into The RoomWhile Fennell says that while it’s a type of progress that these conversations are even happening, she adds that it’s important to note this is more so about dismantling generations of systems that have been put in place to keep Blacks out of the decision-making process — and that has to change right now. “We need to be seen and heard in all parts of this industry. We demand to be a part of the decision-making process,” says Fennell. “Our voices and shared experiences are powerful and we bring with us knowledge. This is not about pitying us and just throwing a bone here and there, it’s about digging deep and really valuing us and our input,” she adds.Fennell also notes that there’s a huge economical divide between Black creators only being paid a portion of what their white counterparts get. There’s a lot to be discussed, but the first step is giving Black creatives an opportunity to contribute within the closed door, decision-making meetings.Hold Brands Accountable“Awareness is a start, not a solution,” says makeup artist Delina Medhin, who is calling on beauty companies to share whether or not their C-suites include Black people. “The reason why we see so many culturally inconsiderate posts from brands is because they are guessing at what we want,” says Medhin. To avoid that,  she says brands need to include Black talent at the top, mid, and senior levels throughout the organizations. “I want brands and my freelance colleagues to ask themselves every time they build a team: Did I intentionally create an opportunity for Black people to succeed,” says Medhin. She’s not the only one with this important ask, Uoma Beauty founder Sharon Chuter is spearheading a social media challenge around this very request called #PullUpOrShutUp. As for the recent flood of Instagram posts shared by brands promising to do better? Cooper had this to say: “My people are beyond the point of acknowledging your PR bullet points of a commitment to change. You have to do better, and we want receipts.”Give Credit Where It’s DueWith more than 20 years as a makeup artist under her belt, Sheriff has experienced a lot of diversity and inclusion missteps among her non-Black associates. She recalls a time early in her career when Black models would get their makeup done before a shoot by their trusted Black artist friends and then show up to set ready to go. “Even though the artist on set did nothing, it was their name that went into the magazine credits for someone else’s work,” Sheriff recalls. She says this is what has led to much of the discrediting and lack of inclusion in what she calls the biography of beauty. Hairstylist Nai’vasha Johnson has experienced the same. “The biggest struggles have been my expertise not being acknowledged and respected in spaces where I am more than qualified,” says Johnson.Value Skillset DifferencesRiley also notes that Black stylist are often marginalized to texture-specific styling recognition. “Even if a stylist is an amazing colorist, the industry often locks them into a ‘texture’ specialty box, while non-Black artist have free range to specialize in all hair types,” says Riley. Being recognized for her versatile skillset is what Johnson desires most. “I am a hairdresser who does all hair types, who’s educated, and who’s equipped with all the tools. However, my access is limited because I am a Black woman.” says Johnson. “What I need right now and beyond from our industry is equality, the same opportunities to be shared amongst the qualified, and fair access,” Johnson concludes.Do Your Own ResearchIt’s been a pretty rough first half of 2020, but this struggle has been on going for both Black creatives and Blacks as whole — but Riley says that this isn’t the time to dump centuries of guilt on Black people. “Our colleagues need to not drown us in their tears while we are carrying our burdens,” says Riley. Instead, she asks that they dig deep, and challenge themselves with hard questions. “Their intention to do better should be met with the action of seeking out the information to do so. White people are very skilled in research and finding information on inclusion, or borrowing our art, their systemic racism is not hard to research if it’s truly their intent to do better,” says Riley. There’s lots of information out there, so while it’s important to check on your Black friends, look to Google and other readily available sources for information and recommended reading on race relations.It’s going to be pretty difficult for any industry to come out of 2020 unscathed — particularly the beauty business. The hope is that this new found support isn’t fleeting that these pros who have proved themselves both individually and as a collective are able to gain the jobs, respect, and equal opportunities as their non-Black counterparts.More on Black Lives Matter and black-owned businesses:Now, watch protesters explain why beauty is important to them:Don’t forget to follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter.

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