Oscar 2021: Black Artists Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson Make History With Makeup and Hairstyling Win

Oscars: Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson Make History With Makeup and Hairstyling Win



Viola Davis
David Lee / Netflix

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson became the first Black winners of Oscar in makeup and hairstyling, on the strength of their work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the Netflix drama based on August Wilson’s play of the same name that follows the titular blues singer–played by Academy Award nominated Viola Davis–during a recording session in 1920s Chicago.

“Thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, who were denied, and never gave up,” said Neal, who spoke as she accepting the award on stage with Wilson and Sergio Lopez-Rivera. “I 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, our Latino sisters and indigenous women. I know one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking it will just be normal.”

It was the first nomination and first win for Neal, the film’s hair and wig designer and hair department head; Wilson, the personal hair stylist for Viola Davis; and Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Davis’ personal make-up artist.

With Davis, Wilson has worked on productions such as Widows and How to Get Away With Murder. Neal’s recent credits includes Uncut Gems and Pose, for which she earned an 2019 Emmy nomination.

At Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, they topped a field of nominees that also included Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, Mank and Pinocchio.