If there’s anything 2020 has reaffirmed for me is that things can change in a blink of an eye.
Just a little over a year ago, I was coming out of my full time job in order to better care for my health. My worries and concerns about finances, health care, my mobility, my ability to care for my kids the way I wanted to were front and center.
2020 decided to deal a blow as COVID- 19 came careening in like a disruptive and destructive wind. Just as the world is adapting (sort of) to face masks and social distancing; the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor were suddenly on our timelines.
In a moments time the revolution was being televised.
The Trickle Down Effect
Suddenly Black Lives Matter was exploding on every platform. Conversations, debates and arguments were everywhere. Whether you’re caught up on the semantics of All Lives Matter or not; there’s no disputing the facts of the horrible history of systemic racism ingrained in not only American culture but in many others.
Seeing a man’s murder creep into my visual while minding my business on Facebook was more than I could mentally and emotionally digest. I was saddened, and instead of turning to social media to vent or protest or point my finger; I chose to pray.
My faith is a huge part of my life and how I choose to conduct myself. So I dug deep into my Bible to recenter and read the reminders that the things this world is experiencing is not forever.
However, that doesn’t mean I am exempt from the exhausting emotions that are packaged into being a Black woman, with a Black husband and Black children. For the first time I realized I could no longer put off “the talk” with my son who is now going on 12.
Watching him cry as I explained what it meant to be Black in America broke my spirit. My husband and I did our best to be sensitive to his empathetic nature. For him to utter the words “Mom it’s just so scary” sucked the life out of me. He’s right, it is scary. It’s why my anxiety heightens every time my husband leaves the house.
It’s why my daughter being young and sometimes carefree concerns me when she heads out the door to work; because I know what’s at stake.
The Business Side of Things
Brands large and small alike began putting up their pseudo obligatory posts to acknowledge their “solidarity” with Black people. Some brands were slow to move, which resulted in consumers, employees and influencers to demand the brands start speaking up.
The demand evolved to demanding brands provide a detailed plan of action as to how they want to dismantle the oppressive and dismissive cultures of their organizations.
Diversity and inclusion have long been trendy terms that many companies used. They fill their affirmative action quotas and never look back. I’ll be honest in saying that even though many people wanted some public acknowledgment that their favorite brands weren’t participating in systemic racism; I wasn’t holding my breath.
The reality is, as a blogger who’s got a little brand work under her belt, I knew better.
The Full Beauty Brand
If you follow me on social media, then you that
I’m partnered (was partnered but we’ll get to that) with the Full Beauty Brand. Any post with Jessica London, Roaman’s or Ellos was a result of said partnership.
As most brands were making some sort of attempt to publicly announce that they understood the plight of Black people and would “do their part” to dismantle the system within their own corporations; Full Beauty Brand was quiet.
They refused to answer customers and influencers questions and concerns. Full Beauty continued to send out sale emails in a spirit of tone deafness to their audience. They ignored everyone for 11 days. When they finally did respond to their team of influencers; it was to tell us that for the moment they were pausing the influencer program.
Now, the hope is that they’re pausing their program to reassess their business practices, but I won’t hold my breath. The truth is, Full Beauty Brand has been paying their White influencers as opposed to gifting their Black influencers in product. Being told “we don’t have the budget to pay you” was a line many of the Black influencers were told, including myself.
I wish that I had the energy to care, but the reality is I’ve been over it. The brand deals and partnerships with a lot of these brands are steeped in microagressions and unfair pay when you are Black. The lack of diversity has been present if you ever bother to look at their social media pages.
These brands are comfortable letting Black influencers wear their clothes for their audience, but rarely repost them to their own platforms unless their racially ambiguous or a certain body type. As a blogger who partners with brands from time to time; it’s frustrating to navigate this space as a Black woman, a disabled woman and in a fat body. I’ve been tired.
The Wrap Up
I can’t force brands, organizations, businesses, people etc. to eradicate racism. The reality is no matter how many BLM posts the put up; it’s irrelevant if they still operate otherwise behind closed doors.
As for myself, I am definitely reassessing how I do business with any brand in the future. I want to continue to be compensated for any brand work I do; but I want it to be done fairly. Moving forward I will be asking more questions when it comes to the details of how these brands work with women like me.
Until next time,