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In a tumultuous period where race is a critical issue in politics, the media and our everyday lives, it’s important not to let casual racism just slip through the cracks. That’s exactly why black American model Londone Myers wasn’t going to let the fashion industry get away with yet another racial bias. Though the industry has made some strides towards inclusivity on the catwalk, backstage tells a completely different story. Myers took to Instagram to express her displeasure at fashion show hairstylists not knowing what to do with black hair.

“I don’t need special treatment from anyone. What I need is for hairstylists to learn how to do black hair. I’m so tired of people avoiding doing my hair at shows,” Myers writes. The time lapse video shows Myers caught in a frenzied backstage, with no stylists even attempting to work on her hair.

“How dare you try to send me down the runway with a linty busted afro. We all know if you tried that on a white model you’d be #cancelled. If one doesn’t stand we all fall. If it isn’t my fro it’ll probably be yours,” she continues.

“I was just so frustrated with how people would avoid even looking at me,” Myers tells Teen Vogue. “I usually do my hair before every show, but this time I just showed up without anything on hand like everyone else.” And why shouldn’t she? There’s no reason that Myers should arrive with her own hair styled, while other models have the luxury of getting theirs prepped by a professional.

This isn’t the first time black models have experienced mistreatment. Model Leomie Anderson told BBC Woman’s Hour, “At this point in my career, I feel like my being silent is me not standing up for the other young girls who are coming up in the industry. I remember when I was younger and I wasn’t saying anything, I’d be going down the runway with my face looking gray, I’d be crying backstage because nobody wanted to do my hair.”

Even huge stars like Naomi Campbell recalls having to bring her own toiletries and cosmetics backstage. “I’d always bring my own products — my own makeup colors, hair products everything — just to be sure that I had everything I needed to achieve a certain look,” Campbell tells Teen Vogue. “It’s disappointing to hear that models of colour are still encountering these same issues all these years later.”

Industry professionals, if you’re booked at a show where there will be black models (which should be all of them, if you ask us), take the time to learn how to style black hair. All models deserve to be treated equally. Simple.

 

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