The duo were nominated for the work they did on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Picture: Instagram/@maraineyfilm.
The duo were nominated for the work they did on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Picture: Instagram/@maraineyfilm.

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson are first black women to receive Oscar nominations for hair and make-up

By Thobile Mazibuko Time of article published Mar 18, 2021

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It took the Oscars over 90 years to recognise black women in the make-up and hair industry.

On Monday, March 15, the Oscars announced the nominees for this year’s awards, and it was shocking to find out that it was the first time they nominate black women under the hair and make-up category.

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson were nominated for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a Netflix film produced by Denzel Washington, featuring the late Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis, who each received nominations.

The award was created in 1981 by the Academy.

What took them so long to recognise black women?

Those are some of the questions that need to be answered.

Is it possible that since 1981, there hasn’t been a single black woman who was good in make-up and hairstyling?

Of course not, but perhaps they weren’t worthy of an Oscar nomination until recently.

Anyway, both Nela and Wilsom are thrilled to be nominated as this is something they never thought they could achieve.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be honoured by such a prestigious committee.

“To be with Jamika and for us to be the first African Americans nominated in this category is overwhelming.

“I have to raise my expectations of myself because this was something I never thought that I could achieve,” she said to Variety.

“This nomination is validation that hair styling is an art form, a craft and a skill.

“It also shows every black woman or man doing hair that we can achieve, and more importantly that our talent and skill is equal and exceptional.

“Thank you @theacademy for our nomination,” Wilson said.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a total of five Oscar nominees.

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