11 Ways to Support Black Hairstylists, Because "Our Craft Is Owed That"

Courtesy of Aaron Weiss
Courtesy of Aaron Weiss

As people all over the country and world unite to protest racial injustice and systemic racism, many are looking for longterm ways to support the Black community. This includes monetary donations to Black Lives Matter-supported organizations, the 15 Percent Pledge that asks major corporations to commit to carrying more Black-owned brands on their shelves, and shopping Black-owned indie businesses. To take it a step further, industry professionals are speaking out on how you can support Black beauty experts moving forward.

Naeemah LaFond, global artistic director at Amika and champion for change in the beauty industry, created an informative guide titled "How Brands and Industry Decision Makers Can Support Black Hair Stylists" on Instagram. In it, salon owners and clients alike can educate themselves on how to support Black hairstylists moving forward.

"The first step lies in recognizing the disproportionate lack of access that black people have to opportunities in this industry which lead to systemic and economic inequalities."

"What I'm about to say here is long overdue," LaFond said in her post caption on Instagram. "There's a global conversation about racism and inequality that is taking place. I'm optimistic in knowing that my colleagues in the hair care industry and other industries that we contribute our work to have an open ear and are reaching out to me to find out how they can do better. I think that outside of what is being done in your personal lives to advocate for change and injustice towards black people, that there also needs to be an internal look at your professional spaces and the changes that need to be made there. I believe that the first step lies in recognizing the disproportionate lack of access that black people have to opportunities in this industry which lead to systemic and economic inequalities. I want to be proactive, so I've made a list of action steps that decision makers and leaders can follow in making a real change in our industry that goes beyond a social media post. We are at a historical moment and I along with many of my peers are open to having this conversation with you (as awkward as it may get) so that we can advance as an industry in a way that is in true representation of all of its artists. Our industry as a collective needs to do better. Our craft is owed that. Let's do the work."

Keep scrolling to read her directives and share her guide with others.

How to Support Black Hairstylists

#1 Hire Black Hairstylists: Hire us as hair stylists on your creative teams. Don't just put our work on your mood boards — put us on the call sheet.

#2 Create Equal Opportunity: Don't only hire black freelancers when you have black talent/models — we can do it all.

#3 Normalize Black Creatives: Normalize black creatives in the beauty industry and in the editorial space. Publish our work in your magazines and other media platforms.

#4 Hire Black Leads: Normalize hiring black leads. There is a fine line between being an assistant and being a ghost artist. Also, don't only hire black assistants when you need someone to do braids or prep natural hair for you. Black assistant can also do it all too. Open the areas of opportunity.

#5 Be Intentionally Inclusive: Be intentional about inclusivity. We want representation on all platforms not just the ones you need a black perspective or a black face for. Go out of your way to make it happen.

#6 Allow Black Professionals to Lend Their Voices to All Conversations: Black hair stylists also have specialties and are multilayered. Recognize that we are also mega influencers, celebrity stylists, film/TV hair stylists, editorial stylists, theater hair stylists, wig specialists, hair cutting specialists, hair color specialists, not just experts on black hair. Allow us to lend our voices to all conversations whether it be on your panels, educational platforms, or as contributors to your publications.

#7 Hire Black Educators: Put them on your teams, on your stages, and in your video tutorials. We are curriculum writers, content creators, experienced educators, and motivational public speakers.

#8 Normalize Natural/Textured Hair: Add natural hair/ texture education to your repertoire. As a salon owner, make curl care and natural texture education mandatory so that your services can be available to anyone who walks into your salon. Seek those educators who specialize in this category to come into your salons and teach.

#9 Salon Owners, Take Action: Salon owners: Create space for equal opportunity and advancement within your teams.

#10 Let Black Hairstylists Use Their Expertise: Understand that an artist being black doesn't automatically mean that they specialize in curl care/natural texture. Some do, some don't (see #6). Just as non-black artists have the creative freedom to do all hair without a label being imposed on them, we want the same respect. Let us tell you what our expertise is.

#11 Give Credit: Don't wipe out and discredit our contributions to the beauty industry by renaming and repackaging techniques that we have created or techniques that we have been using for years.