Major beauty brands are pulling up to post the percentages of Black employees in high-level positions. They’re answering founder and CEO of UOMA Beauty Sharon Chuter’s call: Pull up or shut up.
Chuter created an Instagram account six days ago called “pullupforchange.” With the account, Chuter is urging brands who released statements of solidarity with the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests to release statistics on the number of Black employees they have at a corporate level and in leadership positions.
“Whereas we understand and appreciate the support, be conscious that to piggy back off a trending hashtag when you have been and continue to be a part of the problem is once again appropriating and exploiting the black community,” the comment on the account’s first Instagram post read.
Chuter also posted employment statistics, including only 8% of people in white-collar professions are Black and only four Fortune 500 companies had a chief Black executive in 2019. Black Americans make up 13% of the population.
“You cannot say black lives matter publicly when you don’t show us within your own homes and within your organizations,” Chuter said on Instagram. “So these corporations who are the gatekeepers of jobs have starved us for the longest time they’ve pushed us out, they’ve oppressed us and they’ve marginalized us by doing nothing and staying silent.”
@Pullupforchange had over 78,000 followers on Instagram as of the time of this article’s writing and has been posting screenshots of employment statistics as brands began posting them.
Within the first four days, the account posted screenshots of over 40 brands participating, including ELF, Milk, Morphe, and Loreal.
In the photo description, Chuter often thanks brands for sharing and for their commitment to do better.
“Noted. Just like these companies intentionally have low numbers for black representation, we need to intentionally redirect our black dollars,” @Momdrogynous commented on one of the Instagram posts.
Chuter announced a new effort on Sunday: Tag a group of specific brands in the challenge and give them 72 hours to respond. Chuter said in a video brands cannot claim ignorance of the subsequent boycotting after they fail to respond to the challenge.
“The first set of brands are ones that profit directly from black culture and $$ They owe is an explanation of what they do with our dollars,” Chuter said on Instagram.
As of the time of this article’s writing, seven of the eight brands, Nike, Fashion Nova, Supreme, Mac, Fenty Beauty, and KKW Beauty, did not respond to Chuter’s challenge.
Chuter said in the original video that the name of the challenge was inspired by Fenty Beauty’s creator, Rihanna. While Chuter said she is disappointed and surprised that the company had not already participated in the challenge, she noted the decision probably did not involve Rihanna, but the Fenty owners, Kendo Brands.
Kylie Cosmetics was the only brand to respond to the direct challenge and has 13% Black representation in its leadership team, according to the Instagram post.
“I know beauty brands have been the ones that have responded, this is a challenge for everybody,” Chuter said.
Other brands have continued to respond to the challenge, and in the last few days, 33 more brands have been posted on the Pullupforchange Instagram page.