If you have ever noticed a serious lack of Black hairstylists working in TV and film, you are certainly not alone. Similarly to many other departments in Hollywood, there is absence of Black talent within the realm of hair and makeup. Over the last few years there has been much public outcry, particularly from Black actors, about the lack of Black hairstylists working backstage on TV and film sets. Due to the disproportionate number of stylists who are skilled in styling textured hair, Black stars are often forced to style their own hair on set.
Despite the progress that we’ve seen in regards to the inclusivity of Black talent on-screen, the harsh reality is that there is still a blatant lack of diversity behind the camera. While there is still much work to be done when it comes to diverse hiring on Hollywood sets, it should be known that there are a number of talented Black creatives who are providing much-needed representation behind the chair. Working on some of the biggest film and television sets, these Black hairstylists have played a significant role in helping to change the portrayal of Black hair in Hollywood. Some have even made history through their groundbreaking hairstyling work. In 2021, for the first time ever, two Black hairstylists—Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson— took home the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. While this award was well deserved, it does not compensate for the many talented Black hairstylists who have had their work overlooked.
In honor of award season, we rounded up a few extremely talented Black hair stylists working at the forefront of the TV and film industry. Keep scrolling to learn about six Black creatives who are making major waves in Hollywood, and deserve the recognition for doing so!
Camille Friend, (@camille_friend)
Growing up in a family full of hairstylists in her hometown of Tempe, Arizona, Camille Friend always knew she was meant to be a stylist. Since breaking into the entertainment business over two decades ago, Friend has risen to become one of the most prominent hairstylists working in TV and film, earning herself the nickname “Hairstyling Queen of Cinema.” Along with being the first Black lead hairstylist for Marvel films (Black Panther, Captain America, and Guardian of the Galaxy, to name a few), the award-winning stylist also has a well-rounded variety of movies under her belt including Dream Girls, The Hangover, The Help, and The Hunger Games Mockingjay Pt. 1 &2. More recently, Friend has been responsible for creating Halle Berry’s dazzling red hair look in the upcoming live-action remake of Disney’s Little Mermaid, which is set to come out in May.
Mia Neal, (@brklynin)
Mia Neal was one of the first Black hairstylists (along with her collaborator Jamika Wilson) to take home an Oscar for makeup and hairstyling in 2021, for her work on the 2020 film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Her other notable credits include Uncut Gems, The Amazing Spiderman, and Hustle. Along with being a highly praised hairstylist working in TV and film, Neal also has a history of creating impressive work for Broadway. She’s served as hair designer for A Raisin in the Sun, Malcom X The Opera, and Annie Live!, for which she recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Program.
Kim Kimble, (@kimblehaircare)
While you might be most familiar with Kim Kimble’s iconic hairstyling for Hollywood stars like Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Mary J. Blige, and Taraji P. Henson, you should know that her work for TV and film is equally as impressive. In her career so far, Kimble has created spectacular hair look for films such as A Wrinkle in Time, Rock of Ages, The Pink Panther, and Black is King. Currently, the two-time Emmy nominated hairstylist is heading up the hair department for HBO cult show, Euphoria, a series that has received countless recognition for its experimental hair and makeup. In addition to her hairstyling work, Kimble also has her own namesake brand of hair products that includes shampoos, conditioners, and silk pillow cases.
Araxi Lindsey, (@iamaraxilindsey)
As the hair department head for hit show Black-ish, award-winning hairstylist Araxi Lindsey has done incredible work for the natural hair movement, particularly when it comes to natural hair representation in Hollywood. So much so that Lindsey won a well-deserved Emmy for Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling for her work on the show in 2020. The Los Angeles-based stylist’s career first took off after she was noticed by Jade Pinkett Smith while working as a young professional cosmetologist. Since then, she has worked with many notable celebrity clients, such as Regina King, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Mary J. Blige as well as worked as hair department head for Netflix’s The Harder They Fall and The Umbrella Academy, and Peacock’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot, Bel Air.
Jamika Wilson, (@jamikawilson)
For her work on the film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, hairstylist Jamika Wilson made Oscars history (along with fellow hairstylist Mia Neal) as one of the first Black hairstylists to win the Academy Award for Best in Makeup and Hairstyling. Working as Viola Davis’s personal hairstylist for over a decade, Wilson has built up an impressive resume of work on the sets of The Suicide Squad, The Woman King, Widows, and How To Get Away With Murder. Additionally, she also owns her own salon and is a skilled wig maker.
Carla Farmer, (@farmercarla)
Since breaking into the entertainment business in 1998, Oscar-nominated hairstylist Carla Farmer has broken barriers through her work as a hair department head. Farmer has led the hair for films such Dolemite is My Name, Slyvie’s Love, King Richard, and most recently, Coming 2 America. Throughout her career, she has also received numerous recognitions for her work, including Emmy and Critic Choice award nominations. Currently, Farmer is working to change the Hollywood hair industry for the better. She recently announced that she is working with The Black Beauty Archives to offer a scholarship that involves a year of one-on-one mentoring with herself.