Dear White Beauty Industry,
You know, at first it was funny…taking things black women have been doing for years and presenting them as these new, unheard of things. Almost as if, you were the ones who created it. As if you discovered something brand new. At first, it was a funny joke. Like a, ‘You can’t be serious?’ kind of joke. Now, it’s just not funny anymore. It doesn’t make me giggle anymore. It bothers me now. It irritates me. Why?
Let’s state the obvious: Black girls are a minority and we unfortunately are treated as such. In many ways. So, when I look to the beauty world and see that representation for me on a grand scale is limited, it’s not shocking. Let me say, there have been great advances in this area by some companies and that’s awesome! But, back to my point. Generally speaking, the beauty industry doesn’t represent for my girls. You may throw a black or brown girl into a marketing campaign every now and then, as if to try and shut people up, but it stops there.
Do you get where I’m going with this?
Simply put, we are not really on the front of your minds when you create these beauty products, but WE WANT TO BUY YOUR PRODUCTS! And we do! We should be equally thought of when developing products, not a simple after thought.
When we see these viral videos of companies creating these hairstyles, makeup looks or even applauding certain body enhancements like they’re starting something new, it’s almost like a slap in the face. We don’t feel represented or cared about, yet we are appropriated. Copied. Mimicked.
It’s not funny anymore. Give credit where credit is due.
Recently, I saw another video of a young lady getting what I know to be cornrows. Black women AND men have been getting cornrows for YEARS!!! This particular video was captioned, ‘You’ve NEVER seen a braid like this before.’ Actually, I have. Sidenote: I endured too many pops with a comb and painful sessions in my mother’s lap as a little girl for anyone to act like cornrows are a new thing. And seeing that video prompted me to write this open letter, because it’s getting old.
Taking things you did not create and presenting them as your own creation, and then not giving credit to the creator. That is getting old. There are so many instances of things like this happening.
I speak for black women when I say, we love sharing, we don’t own these things, but stop appropriating our culture and our style, and not giving credit where it’s due. Again, I speak for black women and say, the progress of black representation in the beauty industry is great, let’s keep that going. It’s much appreciated.