I made a video about this as a joke. I doubt I’ll be uploading it. But since writing is my forte I shall do that.
I love make up. I have my favourite brands and slogans that appeal to me as an individual. You might say I am a marketer’s dream.
There’s a trend I’ve noticed and it irks me. Indie brand CEOs in the beauty industry that show a lack of manners and class. Brands who show no appreciation for their fans/consumers. Brands who behave as though they are still representing themselves when they have a brand image to create and more importantly uphold.
This incident happened a while ago but I want to write about it as it’s telling about a number of issues.
Kat von D posted a photo on her Instagram page of her makeup artistry team. Nothing criminal about that. A user commented on the photo suggesting that the team lacked diversity. They stated this lack of diversity is why black and brown consumers feel underrepresented.
Now, I don’t feel that the tone the user used was excessively critical or abusive. However, the reply they got from von D herself was defensive and hypocritical.
Kat von D’s reply came across angry and defensive. She reeled off a list of nationalities of which her artistry team are natives but what truly caused offence was her attitude towards the user questioning racial diversity.
She claimed to not see colour. She doesn’t care what colour you are. Including neon green. So I’m guessing these neon green people she refers to will have no trouble finding employment within her company. Not sure about the regular green people, though.
Now, I would be lying through my teeth if I said her response didn’t make my blood boil. I was completely unaware of this by the time I’d made my purchase of her Damned liquid lipstick. I promptly returned that shizz. So grateful I’d kept the box. I wasn’t about to let that woman have my 16 quid.
Just look at her response above. Really look at it. Let all connotations, subtext and ignorance wash over you. If you are a woke person, would you be happy supporting her brand with your hard earned cash? Because I sure as hell am not. When she dramatically ended her friendship with JS I applauded her. Like most people, I was fooled by the public declaration. Months later I actually reflected on it. There’s a saying: Birds of a feather, flock together. It’s one that my mother quotes often and with good reason.
You can’t be friends with someone for such a long time without having core values and interests in common. So, based on that rationale she can’t be that different from JS, surely. She made it quite clear in her Youtube video that his non-payment for services rendered by her friend was the main reason for cutting him off. This friend apparently created graphic designs for JS’s cosmetics brand and was not paid. So the death of their friendship was not because of his racism/violence/misogyny. It was purely down to money.
But you know when you get gassed and focus on the fact that a close friend of JS is taking a stand against his awful behaviour? That was me. In actuality I should have been questioning why they were friends for so long in the first place.
Her response to the consumer is incredibly problematic.
She claims to not see colour. This is a lie. Only colourblind people can utter this response with any real credibility and even then it’s not truly valid when it comes to race. If you don’t see colour then you are denying the validity of the black/brown experience and struggle in this world. Simple as.
My biggest objection is her attacking the consumer for their own ”lighter tone” and using that to undermine their criticism. WHAT?! You can’t claim you don’t see colour and use the very thing you believe to be INVISIBLE to refute someone’s opinion. It’s beyond stupid to imply in one fell sweep that only the marginalised should speak for the marginalised. If this were true then men shouldn’t speak out about the discrimination women face on a daily basis. Do you see how stupid her comment is now?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that every indie brand out there has a problematic CEO. I’m aware there are well-established brands with questionable reputations. I’m also at odds with the idea of avoiding every single brand out there with bigoted owners. Simply because it would be impossible. However, I do think it is especially heinous when an up and coming brand feels so comfortable to flash their ignorance like this.
As a black consumer, this propelled me to research black owned brands that I could support. One of my favourites is Coloured Raine. You should check them out if you haven’t already.
Are there brands that you no longer support due to their behaviour? Let me know in the comments.
Love blackpistachio x