August 29 2019 – Barbara Snowden
Wigs for Black Actors in Hollywood
Whenever the character in a movie needs a change of look-either to be anonymous or something else, the first thing that is usually touched in their appearance is their hair, unless they intend to change the hair color of the character, wigs usually come to play here.
Wigs are an integral part of the Hollywood costume department, but there is a problem, most of these wigs come out looking ugly, sad and like a cheap knockoff of the real thing. Sometimes, it makes you want to wonder if you are watching a low budget movie, or if the costume department of the crew decided to be stingy, or if they just do not have the eye for quality wigs.
These wigs sometimes make the characters look like they are low-budget drag queens, and leaves you hoping that they would just move to the next scene where they do not have to hide their identity anymore.
Hollywood is a rather large industry, they work with quality instruments all the time, this leaves you wondering why they have refused to-in all the years they have been in business-make use of quality wigs. While good hair is quite expensive for the average person, it cannot be that expensive for people who are pouring millions into a movie. It would not shake the producers so much if they decided to allocate some money to the purchasing of good wigs.
Why do the wigs look so bad?
Costume designers: Most time, the fault is from the costume designers. They probably have a large number of wigs that they keep in their boxes, to use for just any movie they are contracted for. Now, some of these wigs were bought in bulk at a rather cheap price, so, there is a high chance that these wigs will not be of good quality. Thus activating the cringe-effect in the person watching the movie, especially if the person is a hair and fashion buff.
This does not necessarily need to happen, as the costumiers can simply buy few wigs for the same amount, and because they are of good quality, they last a lot longer than the cheap wigs will. These wigs eventually will get so bad that they will need to be changed, and soon. However, it will take longer to change wigs of good quality, because one of the characteristics of quality is durability.
They are old: Wigs, like outfits, get old, and when they get old, they need to be changed. However, most times, the costume designers do not see a need to change them. When the need for a wig arises, they usually just wash, dry and present. And as expected, the wig comes out looking rather old and drab. Holding on to old wigs are unnecessarily annoying. They should be changed the moment they begin to have brittle ends if the wigs are of good quality, it will take longer for the brittle ends to start appearing, and it just might never happen if the wigs are being properly taken care of. However, if the wigs are of terrible quality, then there is a chance it will become brittle a lot sooner than is expected, at this point, the wigs need to be trashed, and new ones acquired as soon as possible.
Lack of funding: Quality wigs are a tad expensive, but they also last longer. However, due to the funding allocated for costuming in movies, the costume designers would decide that, instead of tampering with the budget for clothing and makeup, they would rather make the cut from the budget allocated to wigs instead. After all, a lot of people cannot tell the difference from a cheap knock off to the real deal. Yeah, that is where they get it wrong, because one out of ten females can tell when a wig is horrible even when it is from the screen. Too small a statistics you would say until the crew of the movie is dragged on Instagram for using horrible wigs to shoot a movie.
If more money was allocated to costuming, maybe the costumiers will not have to cut the budget for the wigs, thus allowing them to purchase quality wigs for black women, and saving thee viewers the torture of having to mentally separate the wig from the wearer and failing horribly at it.
Hollywood is the poster child for good movies production, however, when most of their movies end up on the rotten review movie critique site, it is not usually because of poor plot, story line, delivery, or production, it is sometimes because of the costumes, and in some of these costume dragging parties, the wigs are the object of ridicule.
Costumiers have to understand that the character is more than the definition attached to them, the character is about what they wear and how they look as well. Wigs are small issues compared to all the things the producers have to spend money on when shooting a film, as significant as this is, it is also very visible. People do not want to watch a movie where the character is a rich girl moving into another city to start life all over again, but with a drab wig. Would have been better to just simply dye her hair and give her a bob or bangs instead.
The appearance of the character helps the audience relate better with the character, and nobody really wants to cringe their way through a good movie because the wigs were terrible. We all just want to smile, and laugh, just let our system react to catharsis the way it should, without having to frown in-between sniffs because you just could not understand why the wig on the character's hair looked like it had been to the apocalypse and back. If the characters are being dressed with really great outfits, it will be great as well to make sure that the wigs are really nice as well. We shouldn’t have to choose between the shoes and the wig of a beautiful lady on screen, we want to love everything.