Being a Black woman in Hollywood presents many obstacles. Comedienne Nicole Byer opened up about troubling experiences she has had on set, including having to do her own makeup, being told she didn’t belong, and being mistaken for another Black comic, through social media recently. Byer, who currently hosts Netflix’s Nailed It! detailed the implicit bias she faced in a detailed Twitter thread that exposed the negative and unfortunate sides of being a woman of color in the industry.
According to Byer, the disparaging treatment didn’t stop there. The former Girl Code star continued to describe the unprofessionalism she has faced while prepping for on-camera work.
Byer’s experience isn’t uncommon. Many in Hollywood, including elites like Zoe Saldana and Viola Davis, have spoken about finding themselves in similar situations with stylists and other cast and crew (As Saldana put it, it was “extras versus actors, producers versus PAs. It was very elitist.”). Byer refused to say the names of the PA (production assistant) and AD (assistant director) who treated her so poorly because she wanted to show that it’s not just one or two people who do it, it’s an ordinary occurrence.
“It’s not about names. It’s about implicit bias,” she said in response to a fan on the thread. “It happens to lots of POC.”
Byer concluded her series of tweets by calling out white privilege.
“A lil chunk of white privilege is people assuming you belong and not having to worrying about if hair and makeup ppl have all the things you need for your skin and hair, because they do,” she said. “You are the norm.”
The way to combat this particular treatment is to hire more people of color and demanding equal treatment for all people on set. Until then, it is sad but not surprising to know this is what actors and actresses of color are dealing with behind the scenes.