This combination photo shows various hairstyles worn by actress-comedian Tiffany Haddish.
Tiffany Haddish recalls leaving the set of a big-budget movie in tears in search of someone who could properly do her hair. Lorraine Toussaint blithely recounts the times her tresses have been damaged by stylists inexperienced with managing black hair.
And Tia Mowry-Hardrict recalls breaking down on set after seeing what was done to her locks.
"It's mind-blowing to me that we still have to_meaning black actresses_have to fight to have black hairdressers on set for us. There was one time in particular I was doing this movie and, my God, I was the lead. And after this person did my hair, I cried. I was like 'I cannot like I cannot go out there looking like this,'" said Mowry-Hardrict, star of the Netflix sitcom, "Family Reunion."
I just don't understand why you have to fight to get someone to understand the importance of that."
From Oscar winners to stars on the rise, many African American actresses have similar stories about hair struggles in Hollywood.
In an industry known for its glamour and beauty, some say the lack of diversity behind the scenes has led to challenging situations for women of color.
While black hair comes in different textures, it is generally defined by its curls ranging from wavy to very tight coils.
For years, racism and segregation typically dictated that black people exclusively worked on black hair.
Today, that tradition remains as many non-black stylists, for the most part, have not learned how to successfully work with African American hair.
Halle Berry exploded on the Hollywood scene in the early 1990s with a short, pixie hairstyle that would become her signature.
Others heavily copied the style, but the Oscar-winner didn't set out to start a trend it was a result of previous experiences with some Hollywood stylists.
"That's why I had short hair," laughed the actress. "(Maintaining) it was easy. I think as people of colour, especially in the business, we haven't always had people that know how to manage our hair. Those days are different now that's when I started."
Others say the lack of Hollywood stylists able to properly manage their hair remains a problem.
"We want to look and feel good and we want to feel our best," she said. "If we feel that we have someone that understands us and understands what we want and what we need, then we're gonna feel great and we can do what we came to do."
Queen Latifah said she encountered stylists who didn't know what to do with her hair, particularly early in her career.
"It's not because their heart wasn't in the right place they just didn't have the skillset to do black hair," said Latifah, who recently worked with Proctor & Gamble to form "The Queen Collective" to promote racial and gender equality in filmmaking.
"As African Americans we have all different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and you got to be able to work with that. We are always in a position to be able to work with what white people do. That's just how it's been, but it has to be reversed. It has to be some respect over here and figuring out what to do with our hair. . So we just really need to add more people to the industry."
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