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If you’re a Black girl whose been in beauty for a while, then you’ve more than likely had a relationship with MAC Cosmetics at some point or another. Let’s face it: For many years, MAC felt like one of the very few brands that offered a shade range dark enough for many brown skin tones, even if we occasionally felt stifled with the options or limitations it presented that we couldn’t shop drugstore (a different story for a different day.) Well, it seems that MAC Cosmetics has been under fire recently, and honestly, I’m curious to understand.

Pretty much, it seems that many are criticizing MAC Middle East‘s IG post featuring a Ramadan-inspired makeup tutorial. Check it out below:

So let’s go over some important things before I pose my questions. Ramadan is a 30-day period of fasting, giving, and spiritual growth for Muslims. While I am not Muslim myself, in my mind it equates to my life during Lent, when I fast during the day and increase my spiritual growth with more prayer, more reading Biblical text, and just practicing to be the best me that God has called me to be. Anywho, Ramadan this year goes from May 15-June 14th, and the fasting takes place during the day and then ends with dinner around sunset with a meal called “iftar.” Then right before sunlight, another meal is consumed before the fasting restarts, called “suhoor.”

Okay, so now that I’ve set up the historical aspect, let’s discuss the makeup tutorial. Done by makeup artist Mariam Khairallah, it’s titled “Getting Ready for Suhoor,” giving a glamorous look with a gold smokey eye, bold lashes, and a sunset glow. Khairallah refers to it as a “glamorous gathering”, a time where it is pretty common for women in the Middle East to dress up. However, it seemed to upset some American Muslims because they felt the religious holiday was being commercialized.

Now, as I have continued to read both sides of the argument, it seems that the discretion is more on how Ramadan is celebrated versus the actual idea that MAC was dismissive of women, or even for vanity purposes. People did share on Twitter some (strangely funny) tweets explaining how they REALLY look during suhoor:

However others came to MAC’s defense, showing that this is, in fact, a thing people do, even if not everyone does it.

There are so many Black beauty bloggers that are Muslim and continue to be a part of the process in larger conversations we’re having. For myself, the only problem I truly saw was the divisiveness that came about between Middle Eastern Muslims and American Muslims, when it truly should just be about the celebration that this time represents. It’s no different than conversations I have with my friends and that you probably have with your family and friends about your own cultural and religious preferences.

I won’t deny that there is a bit of commercialization that comes about with Middle Eastern beauty, however in situations like this, I don’t think it was about the economic nature as it was more of a personal take on getting up and getting glammed before the meal. The powerful message in all of this is that beauty is individualistic — no two people have to share the same viewpoints on beauty and beauty expression. At the end of the day, express yourself as you want.

Do you guys celebrate Ramadan? Do you go for any makeup looks during this time? Tell us in the comment section!

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