Spring 2023

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Ending Hair Discrimination Working to Ensure Equity From the Top Down It's All About Equity nclusivity is a foundational principle of SAG-AFTRA, and although it's crucial that underrepresented groups and their stories are seen on screen, there's a lot more to it. Both overt discrimination and systemic inequities often adversely impact performers, harming their chances of getting work or interfering with their ability to do their jobs, not to mention simply being unjust. It's a multifaceted issue, and in order to make real change, the union is prioritizing this issue in contract negotiations, raising awareness, leveraging industry partnerships and supporting state and federal legislation that prevents discrimination and promotes equity. Recently, at a panel organized by SAG-AFTRA at the American Film Market, National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland moderated a discussion about how performers of all ethnicities deserve to have a qualified professional on set who is trained to meet their hair and makeup needs. He kicked off the November panel by clearly stating the union's position. "We believe that not providing equitable hair and makeup is a discriminatory practice, that it's unlawful, and that it's just plain wrong," he said. That philosophy runs through the work of SAG-AFTRA's member-led Hair and Makeup Equity Workgroup, which has guided the development of a strategic plan to advance hair and makeup equity in the workplace. The union also is partnering with other unions and organizations to enact systemic change, and is backing the federal CROWN Act, which would prevent discrimination based on a person's hair style and hair texture. Outside the union, entrepreneur Maude Okrah has taken a pragmatic approach to addressing the problem. She founded Black Beauty Roster, a digital platform that connects productions with beauty professionals qualified to work on all different kinds of complexions and hair. Okrah told SAG-AFTRA magazine why she created Black Beauty Roster, how to use it and the response she has received from people in the industry.

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