Actor Tyler Perry and hairstylist Jamika Wilson gave impassioned speeches supporting the LGBTQ+ community at the 93rd Academy Awards.
On Sunday night, April 25, the Academy Awards were in full swing and historic moments were made.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom won big as the makeup and hairstyling team clinched a win. Hairstylists Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson became the first Black women to win in the category.
The Oscar-winning team was included Neal, Wilson and makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom followed the life of the queer soulful blues artist and activist Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey who was portrayed by Viola Davis.
During the speeches, Wilson and Neal gave moving statements acknowledging the barriers of the industry and called for the field to become more accessible to others.
“I stand here, as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling, with so much excitement for the future,” she told the small, in-person audience – and the millions tuning in virtually.
“Because I can picture Black trans women standing up here, and Asian sisters, and our Latina sisters and Indigenous women,” Wilson proudly said on stage.
“And I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking – it will just be normal.”
Neal, who shared the incredible moment with the other two women, reflected on her own journey to becoming an Oscar-winner.
“I was raised by my grandfather James Holland. He was an original Tuskegee Airmen, he represented the US in the first Pan Am games, he went to Argentina he met [Eva ‘Evita’ Perón], he graduated from Northwestern University at a time that they did not allow Blacks to stay on campus, so he stayed at the YMCA.
“And after all of his accomplishments, he went back to his hometown in hopes of becoming a teacher. But they did not hire Blacks in the school system,” she told viewers.
“So I wanted to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, were denied, but never gave up.”
"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."
— ABC News (@ABC) April 26, 2021
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
Praise for the makeup and hairstyling team quickly followed the announcement of the win as users online celebrated the cultural milestone.
Mia Neal just spoke into existence Black trans women winning #oscars and that’s a future I’d like to see.
— Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) April 26, 2021
"I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking, it will just be normal,” for Black women, trans women, Latinas, to be claiming Oscars, says Mia Neal.
She and Jamika Wilson are the first Black women to win the award for hair and makeup
— A Shady Dame From Seville (@SorayaMcDonald) April 26, 2021
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was nominated for an outstanding five Academy Awards. The film took home two for Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Anna Roth snagged a win for Best Costume Design.
American actor Typer Perry was recognised for his philanthropic efforts and awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at yesterday’s ceremony.
Perry is known for his generous activism and support of the Black and LGBTQ+ community.
Starting his speech, the 54-year-old took a stand against hate: “My mother taught me to refuse hate,” he began, “she taught me to refuse blanket judgment.
“And in this time, and with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle, it is my hope that all of us will teach our kids – just refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody.
“I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or white or LGBT+. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer.
“I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope that we would refuse hate.”
The star pushed for a more centrist view on politics calling for everyday people to “stand in the middle because that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens”.
“So anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and to help lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one is for you, too.”
However, not everyone was pleased with the actor’s middle-ground approach, particularly its support of the police.
Police officers are not an oppressed group. No one “hates” the police because of undue prejudice. It’s because they engage in state-sanctioned violence against all of the groups Tyler Perry said we shouldn’t hate! #Oscars
— Kathleen Newman-Bremang (@KathleenNB) April 26, 2021
You can watch Perry’s speech here or below.
Tyler Perry accepts Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award "I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or white or LBGTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian." pic.twitter.com/FjpTaYhKUu
— ABC News (@ABC) April 26, 2021