Before I am anything, I am a black woman. Before you see my knowledge, my accomplishments, my position, my compassion; I am a black woman. And if my blackness intimidates you, that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with you. We are tired of trying to make you feel comfortable by dimming our light so you can shine yours.
Know that, it is not our job to make you feel comfortable in our presence. Please, don’t get me wrong, I am not discrediting your feelings of discomfort, I know how that feels. But what I am saying is, what you do with that discomfort is your responsibility.
I have watched big companies make extravagant statements and promise for change on social media. And because of my love for our industry,
I believe you. I hope there is real action to follow. I hope that our leaders of this industry are not bandwagon jumpers. I hope the black square on your social media pages for #blackouttuesday was not just to bring recognition to your page for likes and comments. WE ARE NOT A TREND.
Black people are not new to the industry, we have always been here. You have chosen to exclude us. from imagery, from education, from product development. Take note; we are tired of seeing the token black girl. You know, the one that’s at the end of every hairshow… the “show stopper” with hair that is poorly executed and make up that does not complement her skin tone. Let’s start to appreciate the beauty behind black culture and recognize the many capabilities our texture of hair has. EDUCATE.
I feel like we’ve been here before… The promise of change. But how can we make change when many of the leaders of our industry don’t see or understand what the change is for? I understand that all changes cannot happen overnight but at least see us, hear us and recognize us. Please remember to approach this change with sincerity. Acknowledge that we have more to bring to the table than our skin colour. That we are not just the black face at your table or on your stage. Acknowledge that we bring value and that our talents are also appreciated.
“Your clients aren’t our clients” (I still don’t know what that means). I refuse to acknowledge what that means. As a black woman in the beauty industry lobbying and creating change, I have heard many things. I’m sorry, but last I checked, our clients are industry professionals which I believe to be everyone’s clients. “Multicultural” does not mean black…
But if it did, why are they not your clients?
Please don’t take offense to my truth. It’s my truth. If my words hit hard, ask yourself why?
Know that I will no longer allow you to put me in a category that I haven’t placed myself in. So, no, you cannot touch my hair or feel my skin. It is not appropriate to call me the “Black Panther.” I am not your queen of Wakanda, and it is never okay to use the N-word. Even if I am not present. I ask, if you could please stop labelling me as an angry black woman just because I take a stance or have a strong opinion. Also, if you take a minute to get to know me, you will find out that we have more in common than your one other black friend, just a heads up. That statement is never a good conversation starter, it doesn’t make us more relatable. What makes us relatable is that we are both human.
It is time for change. Where will you stand in regards to the future of diversity within the beauty industry? Not just for the black community,
but for all those who call the beauty industry home. Every day I will make small steps to create big changes. I am proud that as a company, our position, mandate and direction remain the same. “The Beauty of Inclusion” was trending before we were trending… Today though, I am taking a stance and standing for the rights and injustices of the black community. All lives can’t matter until black lives matter. We are proud and welcome all allies who will stand for us when we cannot stand for ourselves, who will be our voice when we cannot speak and who will remember us in conversations, when we are forgotten. I boldly ask that if you stand with us, stand proud, with confidence. If you choose not to stand, please step aside.