Welcome to The Black Affect, a digital storytelling experience where celebrities share a moment they’ve been made aware of their own Blackness or have had to deal with racist microaggressions while in the entertainment industry.
Jemele Hill is a sports journalist we mostly know from her tenure at ESPN as an on-air talent for SportsCenter and His & Hers. She’s no stranger to controversy, especially considering that her opinions where race and sports collide, were and are often challenged. Hill’s now-infamous commentary that labeled President Donald Trump a white supremacist got her suspended from ESPN’s SportsCenter and she went on to work with their digital brand, The Undefeated. Currently, she’s also lending her pen to The Atlantic.
Jemele Hill is undefeated, clearly and now, she’s unbothered. No, really. That’s the name of Hill’s podcast, Jemele Hill Is Unbothered. Hill has always dealt with race head-on and there have been times in her career where she had to deal with it less aggressively, like when the makeup artist on set has no idea how to beat her face for TV-readiness.
“There were a lot of makeup artists at ESPN that were not used to making up Black women, not knowing how to match our skin tones or anything like that,” Hill shared. “It helped me understand that in television, this kinda what comes with it.”
Hill’s complaint about the lack of knowledge and know-how that many non-Black makeup artists and hair stylists are privileged enough to have, is not news, it’s actually known. “They can go through life not knowing even how to deal with Black skin or Black beauty and know nothing about it and be perfectly and gainfully employed,” Hill told ESSENCE of her experience with on-set hair and makeup at ESPN.
Check out the video for ESSENCE’s The Black Affect above, to hear Hill open up even more about her frustrations in dealing with lackluster hair and makeup while on-set.