It’s officially Pride month—30 days dedicated to celebrating and sharing the stories of LGBTQ+ communities. However, for makeup brand Morphe, Pride month is something celebrated every day of the year, just one of many reasons that renowned entertainer Todrick Hall couldn’t think of a better brand to collaborate with for a collection that’s about way more than just eyeshadow and brushes.
“I’ve honestly been watching Morphe for years,” Halls tells ESSENCE. “It’s just always such great quality. Furthermore, I’ve seen them support and uplift so many artists, whether those artists were known or people that they just believed in as a brand. I love seeing how they invested in those who didn’t necessarily have a million followers. Also, they’ve been supporting the LGBTQ+ community since long before it was the cool or trendy thing to do.”
That’s why 100% of proceeds of the colorful collection, which launched yesterday, will benefit the Trevor Project, the nation’s leading national organization for providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ+ community. “I have so many followers who come to me and share stories with me of their lives and how difficult it is growing up in this world, especially in some of these small towns in the Bible belt,” Hall, a Texas native shares. “It’s always hit home for me what their experience must be like.” Hall notes that he was fortunate enough to have a loving home to go home to every day, but acknowledges that many kids go to school are beat down emotionally—and often times physically. “That’s also sometimes the case when they come home and they don’t feel loved and accepted there, either,” he says. “Sometimes they want to give up and I feel like the Trevor Project has done such a great job saving so many lives and giving people resources and love, making them feel like they can make it for another day. This collaboration is just another way for us to do that.”
Particularly as a Black man, Hall has witnessed the discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community up close. “My good friend Mykal Kilgore always says ‘slavery worked,'” he shares. “And whenever he used to say that I kind of would just nod. But as time has gone on, and as I’ve heard him say it more and more, I think that sometimes when we self-implode or we attack people that are in our same community, whether that be the African-American community or the gay community, it feeds the causes of the other teams. It’s just not the way I think that the world should be. We should just be on humanity’s team.”
Hall notes two other celebrities as doing a wonderful job of breaking down those barriers. “I think the way that Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have handled Zaya to the public has just been incredible,” he says. “I watched a conversation the other day and I literally had tears streaming down my face because I was watching Dwyane talk to two or three other Black, straight men about Zaya coming out. He said at one point, and I don’t want to quote him, “Am I hiding this because I’m trying to protect my child, or am I hiding this because I’m scared of what the world is going to think of me?” .
It’s yet another reason that Hall continues to use his platform for causes greater than himself. “We can all use the arts to tell stories that need to be told,” he says. “These conversations about trans people are so important. That’s why I think it’s so important that POSE exists.” Hall insists that even as somebody who’s been a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community since he was 14-years-old, situations like his are rare—referencing his longtime friend Billy Porter who recently came out publicly as HIV-positive. “It made me cry,” Hall says. “Billy is one of my greatest mentors. Even though I’ve been gay and out for a long time, I did not know how big of an epidemic and a plague this was until Billy educated me.”
And it’s education that Hall says is key. Even admitting that he sometimes needs to be educated himself. “It’s a conversation that needs to be happening more and more because there shouldn’t have to be this huge influx every year of Black and brown men getting diagnosed with HIV,” he says. “There shouldn’t be so many specifically Black trans women being killed and murdered every single year. And while us having more conversations is not going to get rid of the problem, it for sure will help. I try to do my part every year in my music and in my messaging and my interviews to advocate for our community as much as I possibly can, and continue to educate myself and to grow because my community gets me together on social media, but I don’t take it personally. I take the notes.”
And while Hall loves the cause the most, he admits that the Morphe collection itself is so, so perfect. “It’s so well thought out,” he says. “I love the packaging obviously, but I’m one of those people that picks their makeup looks from from day to day. I’m not really feeling a glitter or shimmer one day, and then the next I want to be sparkly. I love the fact that they have so many colors, but within that same palette. You have the chance to be versatile.” Shop that versatile collection ahead.