The need for greater diversity has been a hot topic in pretty much every profession/ field of late. Most recently #OscarsSoWhite became a trending topic on Twitter after there was a noticeable lack of diversity among the nominations this year. This led to a boycott of the Academy Awards by African American actors and actresses, staged by Jada Pinkett Smith and supported by many others. But this isn't E!News. I'm not here to report on the inner workings of the media industry, nor do I care to join in the pity party of those who would rather sit and sulk, than stand up for what is right; EQUALITY.
After what BareMinerals perceived as a successful 'makeover'
The idea for this post occurred to me over the summer (thus explaining the clearly climatically inappropriate attire donned in the photos below), when I left a makeup consultation looking like a clown. The brand is named and shamed above. This wasn't the part that shocked me most however, rather the cooing that occurred from caucasian members of staff who refused to accept their faults, gushing over how well matched the products were to my skin tone. Ply as they might, their best sales efforts to garner commission on the job fell flat. I could hardly contain myself, I was distraught. I looked at my lighter counterparts, able to feel pretty rocking whatever brand they desired, and yet here I was with limited choices just because of my skin tone.
DIY Ankara Bubble Top | Wax Jeans : Wallis
Like I said, I refuse to sit around and mope about it. Instead, I sought the best brands out there offering a diverse range of products for diverse clientele, and broadcast it at the top of my lungs. Unlike other online influencers or bloggers, I refuse to be bought by the pound. Who doesn't love a good freebie? However, I know the impact of words, and the struggle of many in my same situation. How can I sit back and promote products that fail to cater to others like me?
Much needed facial to cleanse the mess above, c/o Origins
This is the same feeling incited in people in other industries as they watch all white model shows, or a panel of all white male judges decide their fate. We live in a cosmopolitan world where origin is so ill-placed when defining modern day identity. We are a medley of experiences, never authentically from one place. We are where we have travelled. Who we have met. What we have loved. To be limited in our choices, tastes, experiences, is degressive.
Sunglasses : Oscar de la Renta (TK Maxx) | Necklace : Abuja Market | Sandals : similar here
The struggle of so many is so rooted to their skin colour, but instead, I challenge us all to look beyond it. We create the barriers that inhibit our progress. We can choose to stand and stare at the hurdle, or jump over it. Yes, racism still exists. As does sexism. And any other form of inequality that still runs rampant in society. However, if we choose to throw a hissy fit every time we are inhibited by these barriers, then we stand no chance of ever being on par with those who don't see us fit enough to be considered equal. Instead of boycotting, let's proactively create the space we have been denied. The likes of Stacey Dash may question why BET is in existence if its purpose is to eradicate racial discrimination, but the point is, it puts black faces in front of our screens. The fact is, in 2016, there are still titles that carry the tag of 'the first black' or 'the first female' etc something. 2015 was a powerful year for equality movements for under-represented groups in society. 2016 is set to be even more remarkable, and I am writing to you to plead that we steer clear of pulling our cards, whatever they may be i.e. the race card. Let's speak up, but act up also.
"Recast your current problems into proactive goals" Suze Orman