What does inclusive beauty mean and what does it look like post the Black Lives Matter protests? Are we going to see a slew of black and brown faces in beauty adverts as companies review their beauty ideals and become more diverse? Because it cannot just be a trend, it has to be authentic and sustained.
Posting black squares and a hashtag was great and everything but now brands have to do the work and review how their brands are represented from a diversity perspective and also review the beauty ideals that they have been perpetuating. Most of these beauty brands from the giant corporates to the start-ups barely have POC (people of colour) represented in their C-suites, creative teams and differing levels in their organisations, so there’s work that needs to be done there as well! It’s important to ensure that they do not continue to benefit financially from black women whilst appropriating and exploiting them to feign authenticity in being diverse when they are not fairly represented in their organisations and their entire value chain.
Inclusive Beauty is defined as an expectation by individuals of all backgrounds, body types, skin tones, ages and self-identity to see and be seen. It became a trend when Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in 2017 and it has been happening at a glacial pace within the rest of the beauty industry. The beauty industry needs to stop failing black women by not considering them at even the most basic level of offering a shade of foundation that matches their skin tone. This should serve as a passport of entry into the makeup category of any cosmetics brand but yet it still isn’t. The Black Lives Matter movement has created an opportunity and a platform that goes beyond asking for representation at the shelves in store but also in the boardrooms, creative shoots right down to their distributing outlets. I think that’s when beauty will fully inclusive, when diversity is reflected at every touch point.