PMA Diverse Squad, Times Up UK, The British Blacklist & Garden Studios promote initiative to end discrimination on set

Garden Studios promote new initiative to end discrimination on set

New clause introduced to ensure the hair & makeup on set is professional, fair & equal to amend a history of discrimination against global majority actors.

Discrimination based on hair style or texture is a destructive practice that has alienated and caused irreparable harm to our Black and global majority actors.”

— Dame Heather Rabbatts, Chair, Time’s Up UK, & Chair, Garden Studios

CANNES, FRANCE, May 21, 2024 / — British talent including Fola Evans-Akingbola, Lashana Lynch, Naomie Harris and Jordan Pitt, are today backing a campaign launched by Time’s Up UK in partnership with The PMA Diverse Squad – a working group of eight non-white female agents, the British Blacklist, and Garden Studios to ensure the hair and makeup experience on set is professional, fair and equal in bid to amend a history of discrimination against Black and global majority actors.

Garden Studios London are hosting the launch in Cannes to call on broadcasters, streamers, producers and content creators for a new clause to be included in actors’ deal memos which highlights that the actor will need a makeup and hair consultation, and a makeup artist assigned who has the necessary training to look after the actors’ needs.

Dame Heather Rabbatts, Chair, Time’s Up UK, & Chair, Garden Studios says:

“Discrimination based on hair style or texture is a destructive practice that has alienated and caused irreparable harm to our Black and global majority actors. This new clause, which we hope will be included in all actors’ deal memos going forward, will ensure inclusive strides around hair and makeup services are made. This clause marks just the beginning of our work in this space. We also need to expand the pool of hairstylists and makeup artists who are proficient in working with diverse skin tones and hair types”.

Lashana Lynch says:

“Being expected to perform at our best when we as Black artists do not have the same support in hair and makeup as our non-Black and brown peers, is a load that can be heavy to carry as an artist. This load must be shared. I’m hugely supportive of this campaign to address this discrimination ensuring an equitable work environment on and off set for all. I’ll continue to raise this until the framework within our industries are built for everyone to win.”

Rabbatts continues: “and we are delighted to see the essential Sky documentary Untold Stories: Hair On Set, co-directed by Fola Evans-Akinbola and Jordan Pitt screening in Cannes, is further raising awareness of this issue. The documentary follows Fola and friends including Naomie Harris and others, as they discuss the challenges Black talent face working in TV and film.”

Fola Evans-Akingbola says:

It is incredibly exciting to know that Time’s Up UK is turning its attention to the topic of hair and makeup equality in our industry. This is a subject that impacts so many of us and this collective push towards progress is what has been needed for a long time. Untold Stories: Hair on Set was an invitation to the industry to go on a learning journey about Afro textured hair in order to explore how something as seemingly superficial as having one’s hair done is in fact the key to understanding ideas such as race, identity and belonging. I’m honoured that the documentary has become one part of the collective effort towards change, and I’m thrilled to support the campaign.

Naomie Harris says:

“The last thing you want to be thinking about as you prepare in character before going on set is your hair. Hair and makeup discrimination is a persistent and unspoken issue which causes harm. I am delighted to support Time’s Up UK and partners in their campaign to raise awareness of this inequality in our industry and to find ways to ensure that there are professionals on set that can support everyone.”

Jordan Pitt, Co-Director, Untold Stories: Hair on Set, for Sky Documentaries, says:

“It’s outrageous that we are having to endure such issues in 2024. Being one of the directors on Untold Stories: Hair on Set, which highlighted the issue of discrimination on film sets for Black actors, I am thrilled to support this campaign that will push for the much-needed change within the industry and beyond.”

The PMA Diverse Squad says, “In 2021 we carried out a survey for the Sir Lenny Henry Media Centre for Media Diversity who published the findings in a report, Actors’ Experience of Race and Racism in Britain’s Audition and Casting Process and On Set. Our findings revealed the institutional racism performers of colour continue to face in the pursuit of their careers. The survey revealed specific issues around hair and makeup and the inability to speak up against the racist practices encountered while working, 71% of respondents had experienced hair or makeup artists who lacked the knowledge to work with them on an equal basis to their white co- workers. We urge all those involved in actors’ contract negotiations to include this new clause as a first step to giving voice and attention to this issue.”

Akua Gyamfi, Founder, British Blacklist, says, “As a former hairdresser who has worked with Black female actors, models and performers the importance of having someone on set who understands how to work with afro hair and has sensitivity toward Black women’s beauty in these spaces is so important. Now as the founder of The British Blacklist and the many conversations I’m still having about the lack of representation in the Hair & Makeup department is shocking and infuriating which is why I’m throwing complete support behind this campaign”.

Ade Rawcliffe, Board Director, Time’s Up UK and Group of Diversity and Inclusion at ITV says, “For too long, we have not advocated strongly enough the need for our workspaces to represent all members of our society, and for all workers to have an equal opportunity to enter the entertainment industry. We look forward to working with our industry partners and the PMA Diverse Squad to enact change and make the industry inclusive for our Black and global majority talent.”


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