Jurnee Smollett-Bell Specifically Requested A Black Hairstylist For ‘Birds Of Prey’

Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Photo Credit: Samir Hussein

With so many stories of failed requests for Black actresses to get Black hairstylists — or simply someone who can style Black hair — on set, Jurnee Smollett-Bell gives us a bit of hope.

[SEE ALSO: Nikki Nelms Dishes On Working With Janelle Monáe & Not Waiting For Validation]

In a recent sit-down with BUILD, Jurnee shares working with producer and actress Margot Robbie and being able to successfully push to have someone qualified to style her hair.


“In preproduction when we were creating a look for the hair, for me, it was very important to bring a woman of color on in the hair department to create the look for Black Canary,” she said.

She requested her longtime stylist Nikki Nelms, who is also behind the manes of such hair crushes as Janelle Monae and Zoë Kravitz.

For “my hair, my texture, the kind of blonde we were going for,” Jurnee said she called Margot and said, “I need Nikki Nelms.”

Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Canary
Photo Credit: Claudette Barius/Warner Bros.

She shared her appreciation for Margot and the movie’s producers for being open to her request.

“It wasn’t something that they were aware of — the importance of Black women’s hair and having a woman of color do it,” she said. “But they were open and they were able to listen, and when I explained it to them, they said, ‘Absolutely, we’ll bring her in.'”

Press play below to watch the full interview.

About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

isis is a music, hair and communications junkie. she is a Black beauty editor; founder of Sadiaa, the premiere beauty directory for women of color, and editor for HypeHair.com.