There are many hoops that Black beauty professionals have to jump through in terms of being accepted in Hollywood, but beauty entrepreneurs Simone Tetteh and Maude Okrah have spent the last few years collaborating on a way to combat the many barriers to entry. Tetteh and Okrah are the founders of Black Beauty Roster, a platform dedicated to increasing visibility and opportunity for BIPOC beauty professionals while also educating non-POC beauty pros on how to work on textured hair and darker skin tones.
"We wanted to create more equity for job opportunities for Black creatives on set for both TV, film, and editorial, but also ensuring that there's a pathway for people to gain education as it relates to working with textured hair, working with darker complexions, and also management classes," Okrah told POPSUGAR.
With Black Beauty Roster's one-day virtual summit happening on Feb. 28, the two founders hope to bring together a number of Black beauty professionals including Sims, Kimble, Sir John, Vernon François, and more to address the lack of representation and opportunities for up-and-coming professionals in the industry.
"We believe that it's really about building community and creating strong mentorship to help people who are an appropriate fit for that part of the industry really gain access and knowledge of it," Tetteh said.
While mentorship plays a huge role in how far some beauty professionals can go in the industry, it's ultimately up to the key gatekeepers to ensure that real change happens. For starters, union stylists and those who are invited to join the union should be properly trained on how to work with all hair types and complexions. On the flip side, there should also be a more streamlined process for veteran stylists and professionals to join the union.
"Beauty professionals have been expressing their frustration — we've been seeing it, but the ones making the decisions about hiring who gets to be on set . . . we're all not speaking together, we're all not in the same room," Okrah said. "So the summit will get all of these people together in the same room to have the discussion and to actually bring about meaningful change, because the ones that have the keys are going to be in the conversation."