Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, the lead hair and makeup designers of the Oscar-nominated film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, just made history as the first Black women to win the Academy Award for Best Makeup & Hairstyling.
The duo accepted the outstanding honour in person at the Union Station in Los Angeles, alongside the third member of their styling team, makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera. After the win was announced, they took to the stage, where Neal delivered an empowering speech about the significance of this year’s award and her hope for the future.
Neal begins her speech by honoring her own predecessors, like her grandfather, who worked tirelessly to get due representation. “I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, who were denied, but never gave up,” she says. “I also stand here — as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling — with so much excitement for the future. Because I can picture Black trans women standing up here. And Asian sisters. And our Latina sisters. And indigenous women. And I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking — it will just be normal.”
Congrats to Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson! The two just became the first Black women to win the Oscar® for Best Makeup & Hairstyling for their work on MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM, alongside Sergio Lopez-Rivera. pic.twitter.com/RTelg2gm2n
— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) April 26, 2021
Echoing Neal’s sentiments, we can only hope that tonight’s historic honour will be the first of many ceilings of repression shattered on the Oscars stage in the years to come.