Some racism is quiet, pervasive, and below-the-surface. Other forms are shamelessly in your face. Lilah Parsons, a former model and a host on London’s Capitol Radio, recently Tweeted an example that sadly fell completely and without question into the later category, Hello Giggles reported. Here’s how it all went down. It started when U.K. model Leomie Anderson Tweeted a photo of a piece she wrote for Elle UK, a letter to her former self about the beauty industry. In the piece, Anderson addresses the uphill battle she faced being a black model working in fashion — hairstylists didn’t know how to do her hair properly, makeup artists never had the right shades for her skin tone. Moved by Anderson’s Tweet, Parsons shared some experiences of her own. “When I started modelling, casting requests frequently contained comments like this – I hope times have changed.. “ Alongside her words were two screenshots of modeling casting calls. Under the description for the job, the desired hair type of the models being cast was specified as “All except afro.” Another email read “NO AFRO.”
Being that both casting calls were in such blatant opposition to natural hair, you might think Parsons had saved the emails from many moons ago. You’d be sadly mistaken. As the screenshot shows, the casting emails were just from 2011.
More natural hair news:
Fashion, beauty, and mainstream media has made some progress when it comes to natural hair. Late last year, a few models showcased their natural texture at the Victoria’s Secret runway show. Shark Tank recently funded Naturally Perfect, a line of Barbie-like dolls with natural hair and deeper skin tones. And celebrities like Kerry Washington, Janelle Monáe, and Solange are wearing natural hair on the red carpet and beyond.
But still, we live in a world where women everyday are made to uncomfortable for the hair they were born with. A waitress was recently sent home for wearing her natural hair in a bun, and that’s just wrong. And last fall, at school in South Africa, girls were reportedly sent home for wearing Afros. Here’s hoping instances like this stomach-turning email are fewer and much farther between.
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