Earlier this year when the killing of George Floyd resulted in the Black Lives Matter marches, and protests, more than any other industry, the country demanded more representation of Black people both internally and externally in the Beauty and Fashion industry. Internally as in Black people given executive positions and externally as black models being the face of the brand, and more Black content creators to be appointed for campaigns in the Beauty and Fashion industry as both of these industries are heavily dominated by white people.
At first, it was a peaceful protest but as time passed it turned into a violent one as the protestors felt they were not being heard which led to them breaking into malls and stores and looting and causing chaos with fire and whatnot. But on the bright side, this rage led to an increase in the representation of the Blacks in the Beauty industry particularly, as looking at the data from Eyecue Insights which was analyzed by Fast Company we know that over the past three years, dark skin tones i.e Blacks have appeared in only 13% of 70 top beauty brands’ Instagram images featuring portraits of face, but when we take a look at this year between May and July when these protests were in full swing, Eyecue Insights reported that there was a 122% spike in these images of darker skin tones all over Instagram pages of these beauty brands. This data proves that all of a sudden there was a huge rise in Black representation in the beauty industry because of these protests all over the U.S.
But now we see these beauty brands coming back to their old habits as once again as the Black Lives Matter issue calmed. Beauty brands have started excluding darker skin models and also their commitment to hiring more black people in entry-level positions was short-lived. We know this because recently, Eyecue Insights released its 2019 versus 2020 monthly dark skin tone or Black people representation results, and not shockingly we see that the chart revealed that the huge spike of Black representation that came in June depicts the gradual decline as the months passed by and this shows that most of these brands were just using Black models to make a profit rather than be inclusive. Only a few brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Lancôme, Urban Decay, Bobbi Brown, MAC, and Estée Lauder are still committed to incorporating more Black people in their companies.
Beauty brands need to understand that representation does not mean posting a bunch of pictures of models of darker tones on their brand’s Instagram pages but it means giving them equal representation in the industry by providing equal employment opportunities regardless of anyone’s color. The day these beauty brands start hiring people based on their talent and skills rather than skin color, the real change will begin!