Fact: Skincare brands that claim to be fighting racism are still working with controversial influencers. For several months now, I’ve noticed on Instagram and TikTok that influencers with problematic histories of racism and blackfishing are still being offered gig after gig. It’s got me thinking: Why are brands still allowing this? And how can they say they stand with the Black community and people of color, when they still pay top dollar to people who don’t feel that way? Why are they getting a pass?
The beauty and grooming industry has been striving for inclusivity for several years now. They’ve embraced extended sizing, worked to include more diversity in front-facing campaigns and have attempted to right their wrongs. After the murder of George Floyd, brands donated to grassroots organizations in the name of social justice. They joined in marches all over the country and publicized their support. More recently, they’ve spoken out about anti-Asian and anti-Semitic hate.
But apparently, they have yet to fully learn. When faced with allegations and aggravated customers, the brands are stating they either had no idea or that as soon as they were made aware, they corrected the mistake. It’s hard to understand why there is not more research being done to acquiring influencers to big name brands. Why can’t they do their due diligence of research before even signing an influencer. If proper research was done, they could avoided working with someone that doesn’t match their values. If that would have been done they could have retained more customers.
In 2021, working with influencers who are known to be racist, is a red flag. Big brands have pledged their allegiance to marginalized communities and it is frustrating to see them choose sales and popularity over allyship. It makes me feel like their pledges of solidarity were all performative if they were just going to turn around, a few months later, and continue ties with the wrong people.
Brands need to listen to their customers. And put their mouth where their money is. No longer can they say they stand with people of color and continue to promote and give dollars to influencers who do the opposite.
Photo via Gucci