‘People Would Touch Me’: Whoopi Goldberg Shares Her Experience with Hair Discrimination In Hollywood

Whoopi Goldberg’s signature locs are equally as recognized as her outstanding presence in television and film. But while Goldberg has seldom been seen donning a different hairstyle, that does not mean she has experienced grace and acceptance from Hollywood executives. 

In fact, the “Ghost” star said it was quite the opposite. While discussing the monumental CROWN Act legislation during an Oct. 27 taping of “The View,” Goldberg told guest Kerry Washington that the fight for acceptance has been a long time coming. The legislation passed September 2021 prohibits discrimination against a person’s hairstyle or texture, especially those of people of color.

Whoopi Goldberg says people would touch hair hair and question what should be done with it early on in her acting career. Photo: “The View”

“We’re embracing our natural beauty now. We want to make sure that happens in creative spaces, like film, but also in the work environment, “ said Washington. Goldberg piggybacked and added, “It’s taken a little while; I will say, I’ve been fighting that battle for a long time.”

The talk show host said that she even experienced judgment from executives in Hollywood. “People would touch me and go, ‘Well what are we going to do with this?’ Just like that. I used to say, ‘Well, you’re going to get your hands out of it, first,’ ” said the EGOT winner. The revered talent previously said her hair and overall look were perplexing early on in her career. 

Look at me. This was not anyone’s idea of what a movie star looked like — ever,” she said during a taping of “Oprah’s Master Class” in 2014. The comedian said her unconventional look was a talking point for years. 

She continued, “I would read that in the paper all the time. ‘What’s with the face? What’s with the hair? Why does she look like this? Why doesn’t she wear high heels? Why does she dress like a guy? Is she gay, is she straight? What the hell?’ For years and years and years.” 

But the “Till” actress is just one of many Black stars who have experienced hair woes in the industry. In a past interview, Jada Pinkett Smith said a rough experience with a terrible wig and hair stylist, who was inexperienced with styling textured hair, brought her to the realization that she needed to have her own hairstylist on set.

Actress Meagan Good shared similar sentiments in the past, however, she has been known to take matters into her own hands. Last year, Good revealed she never comes to set without her own hair tools and products after having more than two decades of run-ins with stylists who were ill-equipped to style her hair. 

“I’m taking a huge bag with me to set with my pressing comb, particular flat iron, particular products. I can’t just use anything,” she told US Weekly. She added, “I’ve had some great experiences and it’s sad in a way. It’s like before I get a job — and I kid

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