Beauty

Why Championing People of Color in Beauty Matters

According to six Black beauty powerhouses pushing for change today.

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For New York Fashion Week, Black Beauty Roster curated a room of the brightest Black beauty professionals and talent. The aim? To discuss how to continue moving the needle for the inclusion and advancement of Black people in the beauty industry.

There’s much to celebrate. For example, The Crown Act, which bans hair discrimination in the workplace, and the recently passed Bill 26528A in New York State, which requires all cosmetic professionals to be trained, educated, and well-versed in textured hair and all hair types to become licensed. There was also an agreement reached recently between SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios to ensure and create more inclusive sets for Black and brown actors (including reimbursement, should an actor need to provide their own glam teams!). But there’s still so much more to do.

None of these major accomplishments would have been possible if Black beauty professionals had not championed each other while standing firm on their desires to make the industry a more inclusive and accommodating place to work in. Below, six powerhouse Black beauty professionals share what championing people of color in the beauty industry means to them and why it’s so important.

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To continue the support of people of color in beauty, check out these must-have Black-owned brands for your next GRWM.

Maude Okrah Hunter, Founder of Black Beauty Roster

“If we want to achieve a more inclusive beauty industry, we have to prioritize equity in the DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] conversation. Black people often set beauty trends but receive little to no recognition and face limited opportunities for career advancements. Championing equity leads to a more inclusive beauty industry and we are excited to see the beauty equity advancements in TV, film, and cosmetology schools.”

Danessa Myricks, Founder of Danessa Myricks Beauty

“I’m a human existing on this planet and I think about my journey on this earth and what I needed as a human being, what my daughter needs, and what my son needs to see. The reality is if we don’t see it, we don’t know we can be it. When we don’t see ourselves, it feels as if we don’t matter. And as an executive in the beauty space, I feel a huge sense of responsibility for how I communicate and who I’m communicating to. I’ve been committed from the very beginning to making sure not just in the Black beauty space but the world [Black people] feel seen from a business perspective. I don’t understand where it comes from to exclude people from the conversation, that means you think that they’re either unworthy or they’re not capable, and we know that none of that is true. For the change that we want to see in the world, championing Black people in beauty is something that we all need to prioritize.”

Vernon François, Founder of Vernon François Hair & Celebrity Hair Stylist

 

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“The reason why it’s significant that Black people are supported in its entirety in the beauty industry is because representation matters. When you see your capabilities being showcased on multiple platforms, you learn the courage, you dismantle the fear, and you become the best version of your artistry, which allows you to be the best version of yourself.”

Johnny Wright, Author & Celebrity Hair Stylist

 

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“We are the pioneers. I feel that the only way that we can take up space is to create it – and creating space is through celebration and it’s through awareness. It’s through recognition. It’s through understanding that we are the standard, and not thinking that there’s something else outside of us that’s different, or that showing up as we are is not enough. We’re more than enough! You know we’ve set the standard for so many centuries, and at the end of the day why, not celebrate it?”

Michaela Angela Davis, Executive Producer of Hair Tales on Hulu

“It’s fundamental to our evolution and existence to center Black people and particularly Black women. Through the lens of beauty, it’s beyond industry, it’s beyond makeup: this is about insisting on being seen. When Black women are seen and centered, everyone benefits. The entire culture is nurtured, because that’s what we do while bringing lots of people to the table.”

Naeemah LaFond, Global Beauty Educator & Hair Stylist

“There needs to be a loud voice standing [up] for us, standing for people that look like us, standing for our presence in the room. There needs to be a collective voice so it can’t just be one person.When you say championing, I think of everyone saying something, doing something, and posting something that is going to push the needle and get people to see that inclusive is the only way to be. Black models belong in fashion and beauty. Our hair has no bounds nor limits, there’s nothing that we or our hair can’t do. We are supposed to be in the room.”

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