It's Okay To Call Brands Out About #BLM
Our country is in the midst of a revolution. With the recent passing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Amhaud Aubrey, and countless other black people who have been killed by racist police officers, there has been a global discourse on over-policing of the Black community. Over the past two weeks, we've seen protests that have transcended borders, the officers responsible for George Floyd's death arrested, Breonna Taylor's case reopened, and more specifically a call for action from the beauty industry.
When George Floyd died, the silence of many mainstream brands was almost deafening. Luxury brands continued to post happy photos of influencers selfies and brand trips while a significant part of their consumers was dealing with the never-ending grief of police brutality. Images of new foundation lines and mascara launches could be juxtaposed to videos of a man with a knee to his neck begging for his life. While many may not see this issue with this, let's make it very clear: the black community has been a leading innovator in the beauty industry for a very long time. We are the blueprint of your favorite styles and pop trends. Baby hairs, long acrylics, loud outfits, heavy bling, gold teeth, full lips, and vivacious hips were popularized by the black community and then cherry-picked and adopted by the same people who judged them.
In the midst of our own oppression, we have managed to influence the entire world and have left no stone unturned. Hip-Hop can be heard in the streets from London to Lagos. Murals of Biggie Smalls can be found from Brooklyn to Berlin. The world's favorite athletes, singers, dancers, and political leaders are Black people. There is a universal celebration of Black culture that has been met with a complete disregard for Black lives.
Although many brands have posted the same tired Instagram post that states #BlackLivesMatter in an effort to post solidarity, it is imperative to understand that this is only the first step. True solidarity means diverse representation on social media platforms and on executive positions. True solidarity means collaborations and partnerships with Black influencers besides their gender. True solidarity means giving your Black employees the space to vocalize their frustrations without gaslighting them into censoring their feelings. True solidarity means putting into the Black community as much as these brands have taken over the past decades.
Popular influencer Jackie Aina and founder of Uoma Beauty Sharon Chuter have teamed up to create @pullupforchange, where they ask major beauty brands to release information on how many black employees they have at their corporate and executive level. Over the past few days, brands such as Morphe, Elf, and Revlon have responded with their stats and efforts that they are taking to increase and amplify black voices on their team. As a 100% Black beauty company, we support this movement wholeheartedly and will continue to hold our brand to this mission. Please take the time to see their page and continue to push brands to #PullUp.
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Dear Brands - Thank you for the public statements of support for the black community. Whereas we understand and appreciate the support, be conscious that to piggy back off a trending hashtag when you have been and continue to be a part of the problem is once again appropriating and exploiting the black community. So we ask all brands who have released a statement of support, to publicly release within the next 72hrs the number of black employees they have in their organisations at corporate level. We also need to know the number of black people you have in leadership roles. You all have statements and policies about being equal opportunity employers, so show us the proof! PULL UP or SHUT UP! #pulluporshutup @pullupforchange
If you want to help the #blacklivesmatter movement, we've listed a wide variety of organizations that are seeking support from the community. In order to really drive their efforts of raising awareness about injustice in America today we have to actively contribute via donations, petitions and sharing these exact resources.