If you’re black, you’ll be well aware of gaps in knowledge in the beauty industry when it comes to seeking hair care outside of your community. For those of us who aren’t regularly coiffed and styled as part of our day jobs, using black-only services for hair is pretty much always a matter of necessity, as opposed to personal preference.
But if you’re a model, which means that having your hair done is literally part and parcel of your role, ignoring non-black stylists’ general lack of training when it comes to afro hair isn’t an option. Londone Myers is the latest model to speak out about an industry that repeatedly receives criticism for failing to seriously consider the needs of people of colour. While waiting backstage at a show for Paris fashion week, she posted a time-lapse video of hair stylists failing avoiding her while they continued to style the hair of white models.
In the post, Myers said: “I don't need special treatment from anyone. What I need is for hairstylists to learn how to do black hair. I'm so tired of people avoiding doing my hair at shows.”
She continued: “How dare you try to send me down the runway with a linty busted afro. We all know if you tried that on a white model you'd be #canceled
This isn’t the first time a black model has exposed racism in the beauty and fashion industry when it comes to make-up and hair. Leomie Anderson has been particularly vocal about shortfalls within the industry over the years, saying just last year on Twitter: "Why is there only ever one black hairdresser backstage yet they need four hairdressers to inspect my weave?"
Myers’ experience is not an anomaly. It’s indicative of the beauty industry's continued refusal to understand beauty in a non-white context.
During a Tedx Talk earlier this year, Calvin Klein model Ebonee Davis said that calling out issues with racism and stylists’ inability to work with her afro hair has landed her in hot water in the past, with some thinking of her as “another angry black girl” as opposed to a professional with legitimate complaints.
I can reel off countless anecdotes about black people I know personally, going into non-black salons as a joke, just to see what stylists would say. My own mother, who keeps her hair shaved, has been refused dye jobs because white hair stylists have said her hair was “too hard to do”. Myers’ experience is not an anomaly. It’s indicative of the beauty industry's continued refusal to understand beauty in a non-white context.