Actress Chelsea Harris wrote a very good article about how Hollywood is slowly accepting black actresses wearing their natural hair instead of weaves. Ms. Harris talks about her experiences in Hollywood when it comes to her hair.
It’s no secret that television is more diverse than ever, with more roles written exclusively for non-Caucasian actors and more actors of color cast in traditionally white roles. In tandem with the so-called pendulum of ethnic casting, I’ve witnessed a more subtle (though also long overdue) change: the acceptance of natural hair on actresses of color.
It wasn’t always this way. Hollywood taught me to hate my tiny, kinky corkscrew curls long before I started working there. I grew up in the South during a time when natural hair was considered “nappy,” and my mother would religiously take me to the salon every six weeks to get my kinky new growth smoothed out. I genuinely didn’t know any other way. I’d never seen a sophisticated lady with natural hair before. I wanted to look like Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union, and Tia and Tamera Mowry, who all had long, straight, luxurious locks.
When I moved to Los Angeles at age 15, I was lucky to become a series regular on the Nickelodeon show Just Jordan. At the time, my hair was shoulder length, pressed, and my own. Producers decided my character needed the classic long hair extensions and, to a certain extent, they were right. My character was a model, and an African-American model in 2006 wouldn’t have had any look but that. Even at my auditions, everyone’s hair looked the same: silky-straight and Europe-grown.
I remember watching an episode of How Get Away With Murder when Viola Davis took off her wig. That was a very powerful move to take place on television.
Check out Chelsea’s article here at Buzz Feed.