Over the past few days, we have seen a record number of corporations, including many beauty brands such as Glossier and Sephora, come out in support of #BlackLivesMatter, in ways that we have never seen since the movement started in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman.
Even on Tuesday, when companies followed #BlackOutTuesday to shut down shop, post a black square and raise awareness around police brutality and racism in America, there has been a valid pushback: it’s great to care about Black lives in a social media post, but what about the Black people that work for your companies?
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Do they feel empowered? Respected? Listened to? Appreciated?
What’s the percentage of your Black workforce look like? Are we promoted? Nurtured? Mentored to move up in the company over time?
Or is this newfound solidarity just a way for capitalism to continue on after the protestors settle down and the world reopens?
These are questions that Uoma Beauty founder Sharon Chuter took to Instagram to ask in her new challenge, #PullUpOrShutUP, which is calling for companies to reveal their Black employment numbers in the next 72 hours. If they don’t show us the “receipts,” they don’t get our dollars.
“Your favorite brands are making bold PR statements about their support for the Black community. Please ask them how many Black employees they have in their organization (HQ and satellite offices only) and how many Black people they have in leadership roles. For the next 72 hours DO NOT purchase from any brand and demand they release these figures,” Chuter wrote in a post on Wednesday morning.
Chuter also made a series of videos explaining her challenge. “We’ve been seeing something we have never seen before, brands and corporations posting publicly showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and for that we thank you, she starts.
But she’s not here for the “PR stunts,” she continues.
“[But] you cannot say that Black lives matter publicly if you don’t show us Black lives matter within in your own homes and your own organizations.”
She later says that while Black people make up 13 percent of the US population,we only account for “eight percent of corporate roles, three percent in management roles, and when we’re talking about to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, there are only four Black people who hold those positions in the United States,” Allure noted.
When you look specifically at how much funding Black women business owners receive in comparison to white men, the disparity is heartbreaking: On average, one sista gets $42,000 to help build our businesses, while one white man will get $2.2 million.
Only time will tell when the first brand will take heed to this call to action and reveal what they are working with, but what we do know is that the clock is ticking.
BEAUTIES: Which companies would you LOVE to show their numbers?
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