Beyoncé’s Hairstylist Is Calling for More Diversity on Fashion Week Runways

Are fashion week runways really becoming more diverse? (Photo: Getty Images)
Are fashion week runways really becoming more diverse? (Photo: Getty Images)

Despite a Feb. 23 report showing that diversity at New York Fashion Week has been on the rise in recent years, that doesn’t mean it’s even close to where it should be.

Neal Farinah, Beyoncé’s go-to hairstylist, isn’t at all impressed with how far the fashion industry has come. He shared a video on Instagram of the Moschino runway show that starts with Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Bella Hadid. His caption read: “CALL IT WHAT EVER. I WANT TO SEE MORE BLACK ON THE RUNWAY,” and he tagged supermodels Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls.

As someone who works with lots of fresh faces, supermodels, and celebrities on a regular basis, Farinah is keenly aware of the missing faces of color on the runway. “There are so many other young, beautiful African-American women,” he tells Yahoo Beauty. “All along they are waiting for these opportunities, and they don’t get them. It’s so sad — it’s 2017, and the same thing is happening that has been happening for decades now.”

He continued, “I feel like it should be equal! There should be equal opportunities. If you have a fashion show and you have 20 models, why are there only two black models? Where is the Asian girl? Where is the Latin girl? You don’t see those things, yet we live in a country of di-ver-si-ty. Diversity?! So, why am I not seeing a Latin girl walking on the runway? How about Trinidadian girls?”

Within the Fashion Spot’s findings, it was reported, “Fall 2016 remains the most racially diverse New York Fashion Week in recent history, with Fall 2017 close behind. After examining 116 major New York shows and tallying 2,700 runway appearances, we discovered that 68.5 percent of castings were white and 31.5 percent were nonwhite. That’s a slight improvement over the 30.3 percent we reported for Spring 2017 and nearly on par with the 31.9 percent we saw in Fall 2016.”

Even with the recent breakthroughs, some people aren’t noticing much of an overall difference on the runways. Farinah broke down his viewpoint further: “You mean to tell me out of 59 countries in the world, you are still bringing out only two black models? What world are we living in now? What message does this tell our young African-American women? We’re telling them that only one color can be represented on the runway.”

Farinah also opened up about how many times reporters from mainstream magazines and media call him up wanting to learn about natural hair and how to treat natural curls, and yet he barely notices women with these types of textures being celebrated or given opportunities to be a part of these huge events throughout Fashion Month.

Farinah is clearly frustrated and ready to see change that will inspire the next generation of women of color to follow their dreams. “Let me see more pretty black girls,” he wrote. “There are so many beautiful different colors of dark skin. It’s time to see all of those different colors of skin walking down the runway and being just as proud as anybody else on that stage.”

He added: “I don’t want little girls to feel like, ‘Oh no, I can’t be a supermodel because I have dark skin.’ I really don’t want to see that.”

Several fans of Farinah agreed with his sentiments. Under his shared Instagram video, model athaliahsamuel wrote, “Wait until September. Imma be slaying some runways.” Instagram user hippiesoulsistah got more specific, writing, “Call out the designer too @moschino @itsjeremyscott! Totally agree with @nealferinah!”

A few others chimed in as well:

@TanyaCalmon – “You’re right!! There should be more black people there!”

@JavionRob – “blackmodelsmatter”

@Bailey_26 “Diversity I agree..”

Even if a few more models of color are being included on the runway than in past years, there’s still more work to be done. But there are several strong voices that continue to call for more diversity — and Farinah is one of them.

Read More:

This NYFW Marked the First Time Every Runway Had at Least One Model of Color

Cover Girls: Major Black Model Moments in Fashion Magazine History

This Black Model Was Told She Wasn’t Dark Enough to Wear an Afro

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