Every few months, I become even more ruthless with my social media. Although I would be happy to block anyone that decided to be messy in my dm’s or unfollow once I noticed a public figure or an influencer supporting someone problematic, sometimes I would wait a minute when it was someone I knew or was mutual follower (we follow each other). I’m not exactly sure why, maybe it was me naively wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they weren’t aware of said persons problematic past? I would nudge them with an article or hope they saw my story giving all the details. I started to realise though, that if I was able to find out this information about these people – then surely everybody else could too. Why was I taking it upon myself, a Black woman – to educate lazy white people in the hope that they didn’t continue to disappoint me?
I started to realise, that if these people I followed cared about Black people (who often are the ones baring the brunt of problematic behaviour); they would research the brands, companies and “influencers” they go on to support and idolise. In big 2019, we can all admit that discovering that brands centre only melanin deficients, or outright shown racist behaviour is no longer surprising. I not only don’t give my coin to non cruelty free brands, but also not to problematic brands such as Kat Von D and Jeffrey Starr despite their products being vegan friendly. I have morals and compassion that goes beyond furry creatures, and I also understand that money talks. White people are almost always the first to “separate the art from the artist”, and will happily forgive a racist on behalf of the minorities that were oppressed by the behaviour, all for a quirky liquid lipstick. They will forever be the weakest link.
It takes 5 seconds to google any brand and find out their problematic history, less time it would take for them to write me a DM (that i’ll never read), defending their bullshit. If it’s so easy, why don’t white people do it then? The simple answer is; white people – specifically white vegans in this instance, care more about animal cruelty than Black & People of Colour. They can list 50 dog breeds, tell you why PETA ain’t shit and tell you how to adopt a dog online, but suddenly forget how to use Beyonce’s internet when it’s time to call out their favs, research racism or pay reparations. The lack of interest is deliberate and violent; and that is exactly why I will never try to convince a white person of our humanity ever again. I will never DM them asking if they know that Jeffree Starr threatened to throw battery acid on a black woman, or that Kat Von D created an image of her product in front of a cotton field captioned “Let it do the hard work for you” or the MANY brands that conveniently miss out Black people in their shade range, year after year despite feedback.
I’ve said over and over, that Black people don’t owe white people free labour or benefit of the doubt when it comes to Racism. The amount of times i’ve seen other Black people asking on Twitter or Instagram if anyone knows if a specific brand is racist is too high to count. Whereas white people have the privilege of not only knowing a brand will definitely carry their shade, but that the brand would never have done anything to offend them based on their skin tone. The very fact that Black people often have to do research before spending their money in the first place, shows how racist and problematic the beauty industry is – and white people are complicit. Yall can do better but as always, never want to get uncomfortable & never want to give up your privilege. Wearing a Black Lives Matter t shirt is not enough, and you know it. The beauty events I’ve attended have definitely had a diversity issue. There have been a number of times at beauty events that i’ve walked in and known before I even get to the back of the room, that I am the only brown face in the ocean of white. The white bloggers and influencers I know personally rarely recognise this of course, and even when I recently raised it on my social media; their shocked emojis bored me because in reality, I know that they won’t do anything about it. They won’t email the brands questioning it, they won’t refuse to work with brands or companies, put them on blast or do anything to disrupt their coin in order to support Black people.
Save me the faux concern.
There are many non racist and inclusive brands, as well as Black bloggers who deserve our attention and money. It’s so easy to become infuriated with white people who support problematic brands and people, and the brands and people themselves is even worse. Black people, I promise you – your stress levels will go down when you just block and move on, friend or not; remember that if they cared, you wouldn’t need to push it.
White people: you don’t get a pat on the back for not supporting a problematic brand – not giving your pay cheque to a racist is the absolute bare minimum you can do. Come and shout when you’ve given up your money, given up opportunity and severed contact with a brand for their racist behaviour.
Until next time,
Demi – Colleen x