Tired isn’t just my feeling, it is the feeling of the entire African American community. A 400-year meld of slavery, oppression, racism, and murder fueled by hate and privilege has exhausted us. We are tired of waking up to more bad news. We are tired of living in fear and we are tired of Karen’s bullsh*t.
2020 began with Ahmaud Arbery being gunned down, for jogging while Black. Breonna Taylor was murdered for being the wrong Black person when police raided her home in error, and George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who decided to take a knee on his neck (in addition to other excessive force). So yeah, black people, as a collective are tired.
In the face of racial injustice, what has been interesting to watch is how onlookers respond to the injustice and pain that Black people are experiencing. There are those who boldly stand with Black people and aren’t afraid to say Black Live Matter while providing support and encouragement. There are those who feel supreme and think that Black people deserve just what they are getting. Then you have the ones who are silent in an effort to remain neutral. While we have always been taught to be quiet of you can’t add something positive to the conversation, now is not the time. We need you to be specific, we need you to say our names, and state your business; are you with us or are you against us. Please note, silence is equivalent to being against us.
In the midst of a social uprising that has resulted in protest, looting, rioting, and over 5000 arrests, call-out culture has become a trend. CNN journalist Don Lemon called out celebrities like Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres for not being vocal in regards to what is happening in our country. Following Don’s call out, our girl Jackie Aina called out major brands like Pretty Little Thing, Fashion Nova, and Revlon for being closed mouth about the struggles and issues of black people. Now, plus size influencers like myself, Chastity Valentine, Essie Golden, Nicolette Mason, and Nikki Wiggins are doing the same in regards to plus-size brands like Eloquii.
Saturday, one of plus-size fashion’s most celebrated brands Eloquii found themselves in the hot seat after they decide to be vocal about where the stood in the midst of black people’s fight for justice and equality. However, it was met with side-eyes because what was the perfect opportunity to be as bold and unapologetic as their black customers were missed. The brand posted a very vague image of word art that said, “We see you. We love you. We’re with you” with 3 strong emojis in different hues of brown as a caption. While there were some who applauded the brand for making a statement (mostly non-black people), many of the comments mimicked blogger Curvatude’s response, “This ain’t it.”
Our anger comes from the understanding that Eloquii, like many other brands, profit greatly off Black people. When you consider fashion and beauty, we are the standard; we create dopeness and others follow, making it a trend. Honestly, it was black women and our unmatched style that carried Eloquii to where they are today. You couldn’t go to blogs like NikkiFree, Jenesaisquoi, or Grownandcurvywoman without seeing an Eloquii slay that matched the brand with both high and low-end fashion. The women behind these blogs went on to make Redbook history as the first plus-size “Real Women Of Style” recipients while wearing Eloquii.
The beef between Eloquii and Black influencers is nothing new because there are many of us who feel that the brand hasn’t embraced us the way they should. I think OG influencer GarnerStyle said it best, “Black influencers have felt slighted by you guys for years.” We are pissed because Eloquii has consistently missed opportunities but this was definitely the icing on the cake for Eloquii’s black customer, black influencers, and those who support us.
In an email to Eloquii’s CEO and other executives, I made it clear that we see them and that we are tired. We have no more time or energy to deal with anyone or anything that doesn’t celebrate us and serve us well. We know our power, we are the reason plus-size fashion has evolved, we deserve an enormous about of credit for the visibility and inclusion our community is experiencing. Our style influence pushed plus-size women to be bold and brilliant without apology. Black women deliberately showcasing our curves is the reason plus-size women embrace different silhouettes in regard to fashion. No one styles and wows like black women and that truth isn’t lost on plus-size black women.
Following Saturday’s post that was edited to make a more specific statement that said Black Lives Matter, a number of things have happened. The Walmart owned brand, Eloquii, made an additional post expressing their outrage in the wake of the loss of many black lives. They also promised to make donations to organizations like NAACP, Black Live Matter, Color Of Change, and several others. I also had a heartfelt conversation with the brand’s CEO yesterday and while she had no detailed plan in place, Mariah Chase says, she is committed to “making things better.”
Listen, sis, You are strong, it is your legacy passed down from many generations of strong black women. We possess power in spaces we never truly consider such as the economy, the black women’s spending power is kryptonite with Neilson projecting that by 2021 our coins we will contribute more than 1.5 trillion to retail. So yeah, we don’t have to be silent, we can put foot to the necks too. It is time to walk and operate in power.