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.”

Praise for the makeup and hairstyling team quickly followed the announcement of the win as users online celebrated the cultural milestone.

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.

The actor has previous supported grieving Black families who were victims of police brutality and created an LGBTQ+ youth shelter at his studio.

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.

You can watch Perry’s speech here or below.