Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson just made history at the 2021 Oscars. The pair are the first Black women to win an Academy Award for hair and makeup. They were recognized for their work in Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Neal served as the film's hair department lead, while Wilson is star Viola Davis's personal hairstylist. Davis was also nominated for Best Actress for her role in the Netflix film.
While tonight was a landmark moment, the pair already made history in March when they became the first Black women to be nominated in the hair and makeup category.
"I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, [and] were denied but never gave up," Neal said in her acceptance speech. "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."
"In moving forward, I'm just excited about the future because these conversations are taking place, these questions are being asked by reporters," Neal said backstage after the pair's win. "I think that we all should be excited about what's to come."
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Here's to even more Black stories being told on screen — and getting the recognition the artists behind them deserve.