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Posted under: Culture

These Brands Are Being Called Out For Their Black Lives Posts

Allyship isn't hard

In between pillaging spaces for the sake of domination, white-owned brands have forgotten something. Black people are the catalyst for the culture they so arrogantly steal and profit from. That being said, when these companies capitalize off of Black spending power by creating brands that plagiarize our aesthetic, the least they can do is show up to our fight for justice in a sincere way.

Major non-Black companies that feel comfortable profiting off of Black people, at the very minimum, need to step up as allies to aid in our protest against the system that their capitalism contributes to. It feels performative when these vessels of capitalism do nothing more than post fruitless content that subtly hints at injustices against Black people when they could use their massive platforms to effect real change. Obviously founder and CEO of UOMA Beauty, Sharon Chuter feels the same way hence her starting the #pulluporshutup movement that challenges beauty brands to release the data of Black people that hold corporate and leadership roles in their companies.

That’s not to say all companies have fallen into the performative rabbit hole because there are a select few who have decided to get it right in a meaningful way. We’ve compiled a list of several brands being called out for their performative allyship as well as those who have been sincere.

1. Public Desire

2. PrettyLittleThing

These online retailers were not prepared for their pretty little things to turn into huge backlashes. In response to the murder of George Floyd,  the UK-based shoe brand, Public Desire posted an Instagram photo of George Floyd with glitter. Its fellow UK-based fashion brand, PrettyLittleThing tweeted a picture of two holding hands that didn’t go over well, seemingly encouraging people to stand together across racial differences. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found the solution to systemic racism. It isn’t a can of Pepsi, it’s outdated graphics.

3. NFL

When Colin Kaepernick was blackballed by the NFL for protesting racism in America, it became clear where the organization stood on the issue. Now it has decided to look as if it is standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by echoing the same sentiments as other brands. Where was that energy when Kaepernick was being bullied?

4. Fashion Nova

Fashion Nova doesn’t hesitate to reach out to its audience when it is having a flash sale, but it took the digital coaxing of celebrities like Cardi B’s stylist, Kollin Carter and YouTuber Jackie Aina for the company to make a statement of solidarity. It’s nice that it has pledged to donate $1 million but for a brand that made over $500 million last year and is accused of stealing from Black designers, it could do a lot more.

5. Nickelodeon

In a sea of misguided attempts, Nickelodeon actually got it right. The channel, along with other ViacomCBS networks, suspended programming for 8 minutes and 45 seconds to pay tribute to George Floyd. In addition, its CEO Bob Bakish announced the company’s $5 million pledge to social justice organizations. Well done, Nickelodeon. It’s never too early to educate the babies.

6. Glossier

One of the leading companies in the beauty industry, Glossier decided to pay it forward in the best way possible. It has decided to donate $1 million to organizations that fight against racial injustice along with businesses that are Black-owned. Imagine if all white-owned companies took this approach to empower groups who are cleaning up the messes that are a product of white supremacy.

7. Peloton

This fitness company announced that it's donating $500,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In a time where many Black organizers and protesters are being arrested, this donation will help out in a major way.

8. Ben & Jerry's

Raise your hand if Ben & Jerry's just became your favorite ice cream brand after it read white supremacy to filth in their statement. It's one thing to dance around an issue lacking specificity to not rock the boat too much, but it has rocked the entire ocean with this one. Kudos to Ben & Jerry's for addressing the issue head on.

9. Nike

Per usual, Nike is leading the pack with its intentionality in addressing the modern day lynchings of Black Americans. The athletic line not only stayed on brand, consistent with previous acts of social justice, but it encouraged its audience to not accept the status quo that is racism and to become allies.

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A Detroit native, Kenneth 'Kenny' Williams Jr. is a self-described cultural critic and visual storyteller. While at Michigan State University, Kenneth received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and went on to obtain his Master of Arts degree in Public Relations. Kenneth's passions include pop culture, writing, and using his skill sets to actively and positively promote the narratives of Black people and Black culture. Interested in seeing more from Kenneth? Follow him on Medium at https://medium.com/@kennethwilliams310