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‘Our Kind of People’ Stars on the Importance of Having Black Hair and Makeup Artists

TCA 2021: ”I would go into a makeup trailer, walk out and then redo my own makeup,“ Joe Morton says of past projects

“Chicago Med” alum Yaya DaCosta stars as a haircare entrepreneur in Fox’s upcoming drama “Our Kind of People,” a “full-circle” moment for the actress who was first introduced on “America’s Next Top Model” more than 15 years ago with her natural hair.

“I became known after that as a natural hair icon,” DaCosta said during a Television Critics Association panel for the show on Wednesday. “Even though I didn’t really speak about it … people were always in my DMs. There’s been this kind of underground network of natural haircare, and to see the movement blossom, and then to come into 2021 and be offered a part like this, felt like everything was coming full circle.”

DaCosta said the show takes the commitment to natural hair “to the next level,” with honest depictions of Black women caring for their hair. “We’re actually being vulnerable and real, and not relinquishing to the pressure to be coiffed in a way to fit in,” DaCosta said.

“The people that are here in our makeup trailer are doing a great job of allowing us to be the most comfortable in our skin,” said DaCosta’s co-star Rhyon Nicole Brown. “And then as actors [we] go and do what we have studied for years to do … You leave the hair makeup trailer, and you actually look like yourself.”

“In that sense that we’ve sort of come a long way,” Joe Morton added. “I remember a time when there were only two kinds of makeup for black people. When I was Negro number one and Negro number two … I would go into a makeup trailer, walk out and then redo my own makeup. When I had hair, I always did my own hair. Because there was nobody in that makeup trailer I could trust.”

“Walking into a makeup trailer is like putting on a mask,” Morton said. “You’re beginning to form the character, beginning to see what that person looks like, how it feels.”

Inspired by the book by Lawrence Otis Graham, “Our Kind of People” is set within “the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where the rich and powerful Black elite have come to play for more than 50 years.”

DaCosta stars as a “strong-willed, single mom [who] sets out to reclaim her family’s name and make an impact with her revolutionary haircare line that highlights the innate, natural beauty of Black women.” Morris Chestnut, Joe Morton, Nadine Ellis, Lance Gross, Rhyon Nicole Brown, Kyle Bary and newcomer Alana Bright also star.

The series is produced by 20th Television and Fox Entertainment. Karin Gist is writer, showrunner and executive producer, with Lee Daniels and Marc Velez executive producing for Lee Daniels Entertainment. Claire Brown of The Gist Of It Productions also executive produces alongside Ben Silverman and Rodney Ferrell of Propagate, Pam Williams and Montrel McKay.