In response to the recent killings of George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor fashion and beauty brands have taken to Instagram to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. However, consumers and insiders are wondering if these posts are sincere or simply performative since some have been known for discrimination and even accused of microaggressions in the workplace.
So, in the wake of hard conversations about race in society, a serious challenge was issued to the industry to show us the receipts!
Uoma Beauty founder and former beauty executive, Sharon Chuter created an initiative called Pull Up For Change with a viral hashtag #pulluporshutup challenging beauty brands to release the exact number of Black employees at their companies.
“Be conscious that to piggyback 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,” reads the campaign’s open letter on Instagram. “You all have statements and policies about being equal opportunity employers, so show us the proof.”
According to the campaign, roughly 8 percent of people employed in white-collar professions are Black—and only 3.2 percent of them are in executive or senior management roles. Let that sink in for a second.
Sharon calls on these multi-million dollar brands to transparent about who has seats at their tables. “To at this point, to still be absolving yourself from the role you have played and continue to play in the marginalized and oppression of black people, shows that a lot of these efforts are just PR stunts," Chuter says in her call to action video.
Since posting her video on Wednesday, June 2nd a plethora of brands have come through with their stats. Kylie Cosmetics reported that their staff is 13% Black, and 47% Bi-racial people of color.
While the initial call was for 72 hours post statements, brands are continuing to pull up. The big powerhouse ULTA reported 18% Blackboard members and 13% Black executive team leaders, while Sephora reported 45% people of color in corporate offices, with 6% being Black. L'Oreal, a self-proclaimed company for multicultural women, reported 7% in corporate positions and 8% at the executive level is black. Since L'Oreal owns juggernaut brands like Maybelline, Essie, Carol's Daughter and Kiehl's, any increase at these brands would make a sizable difference in the lives of many black people.
This goes beyond the beauty industry. Currently, challenges have been issued to Fashion Nova and Nike without any comment from the brands.
We need to continue to hold brands accountable. Black spending power is worth 1.2 trillion dollars, so these companies must value us as such.
(Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage, Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Marie Claire)
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