We shipped out three pairs of our gold dipped Fulani earrings-small version directly to set last year in early March for ‘The Harder They Fall,’ which was necessary for the actress who would be wearing them and her stunt doubles. We had no idea who that actress would be or how many scenes she would be featured in with Fulaba earrings. When the film came out last month on Netflix, we were thrilled to see Regina King, one of the lead cast members wearing them proudly and prominently throughout the film! Regina plays Trudy Smith in ‘The Harder They Fall’ (co-produced by Jay-Z) accompanying Idris Elba who plays Rufus Buck, Zazie Beetz who plays Mary Fields, and Jonathan Majors who plays Nat Love.
Upon release of the film, Fulaba Founder, Haby Barry learned more about the costume design of ‘The Harder They Fall’ and the award-winning costume designer, Antoinette Messam behind it all. First-time British film director, Jeymes Samuel who is also a singer and songwriter had a vision to bring the story of real Black cowboys and cowgirls to the big screen in a bold way, complete with clean and captivating couture and not your typical dingy, dusty Western.
Messam met Samuel with his vision by first doing her research and discovering the silhouettes of what Black cowboys and cowgirls wore in the late 1800s. “They were wearing the same satin dresses that their white counterparts were.” This comes as no surprise to Haby, who is also co-author of Women of the African Diaspora, a photo book that includes a chapter called, The Diaspora in America which comments on the settling and migration of African Americans to the American West in the 1800s-1900s. The African diaspora has always been consistent in their adornments of fine, regal clothing and jewelry throughout history, although much of our stories have been hidden or lost. In her research, Messam uncovers the fact that one in four cowboys were African American.
Antoinette Messam, Jamaica-born, Toronto raised had familial influences of fashion with her mother who was a dressmaker and grandfather who was a tailor. Messam’s first love is textiles, but she also loves film, so naturally she became enamored by the costumes in film. ‘The Harder They Fall’ is Messam’s first Western and her father loved Westerns. Haby’s late father also loved Westerns, and this is the first film that Fulaba jewelry has appeared in.
Messam designed all of the looks for the all-star cast in the film including Regina King, executing on Samuel’s vision of a vibrant, colorful Western by honing in on “saturated jewel tones.” Trudy Smith (Regina King) appears wearing a sapphire blue coat with gold buttons that complement her gold Fulaba earrings magnificently; she commands your attention.
There are strains of African symbolism throughout the film – not beating it over the head. I found these incredible Fulani earrings for Regina’s character..[The Fulani earrings] made a statement. It was important that the statement be subtle, subtle African references with some of the accessories, without hitting it on the nose.-Antoinette Messam
We are grateful for Antoinette’s beautiful designs and including us to bring it all to life. Messam won the Costume Designer Award for the 2021 Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards, for her work in the ‘The Harder They Fall,’ which is streaming on Netflix. Watch Regina King shining bright and showing whose boss in Fulaba’s gold dipped Fulani earrings-small version!