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Fashion and beauty brands are committed to supporting black influencers.  So how are they doing?


In the summer of 2020, the world finally took note of the disproportionate rate at which African Americans were being murdered by law enforcement. People on sSocial media has taken these injustices into account and drawn attention to the plight that has long plagued the black community.

Black beauty and fashion professionals used their online platforms to share their experiences of discrimination and unfair treatment in their respective industries. For fear of “canceling the culture”, many scrambled marks to assess their history for signs of complicity and promised to hire diversity officers and support black voices in social media in the future.

Now that 2020 is behind us, are these brands keeping their promises? We spoke with industry insiders and four black influencers from the beauty and fashion spheres to check out how companies are doing and what steps are being taken to support a more equitable environment.

How industry professionals see things changing

Since last summer, public relations consultant Keisha McCotry said she has noticed more people of color appearing on beauty brands’ social media pages.

“I think it’s great, but I think it’s super late,” McCotry said. “I think some of them are performative. [Brands] feel that they have to do it, otherwise they will have negative reactions. “

Avon Dorsey, a member of the Black In Fashion Council, said she has tried to monitor whether fashion brands are really making efforts to improve their businesses.

“I would say it’s like 50/50,” Dorsey told HuffPost. “For diversification, some brands have hired more black models, which for the public, we have more black models and that’s cute. But we don’t know what’s going on in the back. “

Pay inequality is a big issue in these industries, as influencers of color are often paid less than their white counterparts.

McCotry, who has worked with influencers in beauty PR, said that whenever she recommended African American influencers to brands, those brands “pushed” their prices – which never happened. when she suggested white people.

“If two influencers said their rates were $ 5,000 and they had the same followers, and one was white and the other was black, you’d get different responses,” she told HuffPost .

To help reduce transparency around pay disparities, the Influencer Pay Gap Instagram account allows influencers to anonymously share their rates and compare ratings on their experiences working with brands.

How influencers see things changing now

Taleah Griffin is a Chicago-based model, actor and half of the “Beauty Needs Me” podcast. Griffin used the pandemic to focus her energy on developing a beauty brand that she describes as “minimal and effortless.”

Brands she has worked with: WhoWhatWear, Pantene and Sephora

Since summer 2020, have you noticed a change in the brands you work with?

Summer 2020 changed everything. George Floyd’s murder happened the day after my birthday and on June 17th we launched the “Beauty Needs Me” podcast. All companies take on every challenge and hire a diversity manager. I think it is high time, but there is still a financial aspect missing. For the podcast, we have a lot of press, but no one is sponsoring an episode.

Do brands come forward and recognize your race when they say they want to work with you?

Yes, [because for beauty] it’s more a question of skin tone. A brand would like to show how beautiful their product looks on your skin tone. Or when a brand tries to show off the effectiveness of a hair product, they choose a lighter skinned influencer with a looser curl. When a brand tries to show that their sunscreen doesn’t look chalky on black skin, they go for a model with darker skin.

Do you see a change in the money that has been offered to you?

I think there is a change. I am negotiating my own contracts now. I’m not ashamed to ask for money that I think I deserve.

Has there been a change in your followers? If so, what does this change look like?

I have a lot more female followers – they’re starting to relate to me. [Originally], over 60% of my followers were men.

What do you think your future looks like with business?

I feel it’s good. I feel like I have a lot of positive interactions with brands that I feel connected to.

Fashion and beauty brands are committed to supporting black influencers.  So how are they doing?

Taye Hansberry is a staple in beauty and fashion. She comes from an accomplished family that includes playwright Lorraine Hansberry and her cousin Issa Rae. Based in Los Angeles, Hansberry uses his platform to empower others.

Brand Category: Beauty and fashion

Brands she has worked with: Oribe, Rebecca Minkoff, Marc Jacobs

What changes have you noticed since summer 2020?

I contacted a brand [and said], “I really wish you could find some kind of budget to pay black beauty influencers – people you normally don’t hire – and I want you to pay them like you pay white influencers, and myself included. “The mark said, ‘You are right.’

We don’t know what others are getting paid. You have to pay black influencers like you would pay an influencer who is not black.

What is your advice for negotiating pay rates?

You must be ready to give up that money [when you think it’s too low], which is difficult. The $ 5,000 is a lot of money, but you find out that someone is getting $ 30,000 for the same work. Try not to take everything that awaits you and make sure you get paid what you should be paid. The way to find out is to talk to people.

Has there been a change in your followers?

Absolutely. I started to notice a change when this no one has been in the White House for the past four years. I think I realized my suite was very Caucasian when I was defending Hillary Clinton. I started to notice big drops at times. I know Instagram is getting rid of bots, but I noticed when I talked about some things – for example, I lost a lot of followers during BLM. There was like a dip of 8K people.

What has been your most memorable moment in the past six months?

The Marc Jacobs partnership. They were so on board from the start and they created this IGTV called “Taye Talks with Marc Jacobs”. I really love this one. I have the impression of having been listened to, and I have the impression that people have been included who were not normally before.

Fashion and beauty brands are committed to supporting black influencers.  So how are they doing?

David Mansion is an emerging influencer who turned his love of grooming and men’s fashion into a brand. The jet setter owns MansionSkin, a ‘genderless skin apothecary’, and loungewear brand The Dad Archives.

Brand Category: Fashion and care

Brand he worked with: Burberry

Since summer 2020, have you noticed a change in the brands you work with?

I have. I haven’t had a lot of big companies looking to partner up. I was more in tune with small businesses and black businesses. I am still small myself. I can only imagine what it is like to start a business in a pandemic.

How would you describe your growth?

The past year has been a very emotional time for everyone. I closed a door when I stopped working in corporate fashion and became a full-fledged entrepreneur. I still woke up at 6 a.m. everyday and was still sitting at my desk. I took breaks. The squeak and bustle was different because you’re all you’ve got.

Do brands come out straight and recognize your race when they say they want to work with you?

Unfortunately not directly. I think there are more opportunities for them to be a little more vocal than just a post, an IG story, or using a black influencer.

Have you noticed a change in your subscribers since summer 2020?

I have. I think a lot of people ended up checking their phones, and during BLM we started getting Instagram hashtags and widgets. People show appreciation for black affairs, share stories and messages, connect with other partners. With “Shop Black business” widgets, you are in a different world. And when you use them, it’s like an Explore page for black businesses.

Fashion and beauty brands are committed to supporting black influencers.  So how are they doing?

Carleen Robinson is a Toronto-based fashion influencer who boasts a dynamic style that has earned her partnerships and growing clientele. By collaborating with other influencers, she hopes to expand her reach and share her joy.

Brands she has worked with: WhoWhatWear and the Nobo

Do brands come out straight and recognize your race when they say they want to work with you?

No, I never felt that someone was doing anything because of my race. I haven’t had that feeling yet, but trust me, I would. I’ve never been made to feel this way, and I hope no one ever will. I am first of all a woman who happens to be black. When we value everyone equally, that’s the best way forward.

Do you see a change in the money that has been offered to you?

To be chosen to be the only Canadian selected for the Nobo was huge. There is an influencer I spoke to, his name is Opal. When my collaboration [with the Nobo] was in negotiation, I contacted Opal. She said, “Here’s how you’re going to do it, and that’s what you’re asking for.” They paid what I asked for.

What do you think your future looks like with brands?

My goal is to have repeat brands on my list, not just one. It’s important that a brand use me for a spring and fall campaign, so I put that in the universe.

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