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Beauty brand receives backlash for ‘Kobe Bryant makeup challenge’

Participants allegedly tagged Vanessa Bryant in their creations.


Tiffanie Drayton


Posted on Feb 2, 2020   Updated on May 19, 2021, 4:30 pm CDT

On Saturday, makeup brand the Crayon Case started a Kobe Bryant makeup challenge, and people online have mixed reactions to it.

The million-dollar, Black-owned brand, started by Raynell “Supa Cent” Steward, kicked off on day one of Black History Month, with the late NBA great as the first challenge to draw inspiration from.

“Let’s start this challenge with a special tribute to Kobe Bryant. One of history’s greatest basketball players! We send our love to all family and friends effected by this devastation,” the now-deleted post read, along with a suggested color palette.

Many online could not fathom how the New Orleans brand could use Bryant for “promotional purposes” so soon after his death. (Bryant died on Jan. 26.)

“I’m sorry but this ain’t it , this tragedy shouldn’t be turned into a ‘makeup challenge’ to get noticed by a brand,” user @tyraajaneaa wrote in a now-viral tweet.

Others called it “odd” and “distasteful.”

“The fact that y’all don’t understand why it’s fucking odd to use Kobe as inspiration for a makeup look, given what just happened is very very weird to me. I’m disappointed in Crayon Case and Supa Cent. Because i doubt if he hadn’t passed this would even be a thing right now,” Twitter user @_kelaimani wrote.

Yet, some defended the brand.

“Crayon Case is black owned and they’re doing a black history month challenge and they are dedicating day 1 to Kobe. They aren’t selling anything just saying ‘do a Kobe inspired look and tag us’. People gotta stop looking for things to be mad about,” Twitter user @ChynnaTown11 wrote.

The Crayon Case allegedly added insult to injury by writing “who can kill it” in the caption of the post.

“Crayon Case posted a Kobe makeup challenge and added to the caption ‘who can k*ll it,’” Twitter user @alanaauston pointed out.

The challenge then took embarrassing heights when users began allegedly tagging Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, in their inspired creations.

“Y’all are tagging this mans wife in a post about a makeup challenge not even a week after she lost her husband and daughter. IS IT WORMS??? Don’t nobody, especially her, wanna see your opportunistic ugly ass make up looks. Go outside, touch grass,” Twitter user @yagirtoomuch wrote.

The Crayon Case eventually deleted the challenge post and addressed the backlash in a public statement.

“Please receive our words with an open heart! We only wish to honor our legends,” it wrote. “Due to the recent tragedy of loss, we chose to honor Mr. Bryant through our craft, cosmetics. This day was inspired by a master of his craft. We used our gifts to highlight his challenge.”

It wrote that the challenge was not connected to promotional purposes in any way.

“This was only intended to be a kick off to a month of Black history. The remaining honorees and references through the month are to highlight moments of historical pride and acknowledgment,” the Crayon Case wrote.

The Daily Dot has sent the Crayon Case multiple requests for comment.


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*First Published: Feb 2, 2020, 9:04 am CST