Naomie Harris & Lashana Lynch Back Campaign To Improve Hair & Makeup Experience For Black Actors

Black stars including Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch have backed a Time’s Up UK campaign to ensure that the hair and makeup experience on set is professional, fair and equal.

Along with the PMA Diverse Squad – a working group of eight non-white female agents – the British Blacklist and Garden Studios, Time’s Up UK is urging a hair and makeup clause be inserted in the deal memos for Black and Global Majority actors.

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The campaign will be discussed at an event in Cannes on Sunday morning and there was a screening of Sky documentary Untold Stories: Hair on Set last night in the presence of its director, the BAFTA-nominated Jordan Pitt, who is backing the campaign alongside the likes of the show’s host Fola Evans-Akingbola.

An example of a proposed deal memo reads: “There will be a meaningful consultation between the Actor and Hair & Makeup. Production will provide a hair and makeup stylist(s) with knowledge and experience of working with afro textured hair and darker skin tones; and ensure that the makeup artist will have a reasonable selection of makeup which is actually suited to darker skin tones.”

Since buying the Untold Stories doc, Sky, for one, has issued a commitment that all productions for its originals with Black talent will have makeup artists and hair stylists experienced in afro textured hair and darker skin tones.

James Bond star Harris said: “The last thing you want to be thinking about as you prepare in character before going on set is your hair. Hair and makeup discrimination is a persistent and unspoken issue which causes harm. I am delighted to support Time’s Up UK and partners in their campaign to raise awareness of this inequality in our industry and to find ways to ensure that there are professionals on set that can support everyone.”

Lynch, who also starred in the latest Bond, added: “Being expected to perform at our best when we as Black artists do not have the same support in hair and makeup as our non-Black and brown peers, is a load that can be heavy to carry as an artist. This load must be shared. I’m hugely supportive of this campaign to address this discrimination ensuring an equitable work environment on and off set for all. I’ll continue to raise this until the framework within our industries are built for everyone to win.”

Time’s Up UK Chair Heather Rabbatts added: “Discrimination based on hair style or texture is a destructive practice that has alienated and caused irreparable harm to our Black and global majority actors. This new clause, which we hope will be included in all actors’ deal memos going forward, will ensure inclusive strides around hair and makeup services are made.”

Amongst other findings, a 2021 report from the Sir Lenny Henry Media Centre for Media Diversity found nearly three quarters (71%) of respondents had experienced hair or makeup artists who lacked the knowledge to work with them on an equal basis to their white co- workers.

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