Naeemah LaFond joined the countless Black creatives calling for tangible and measurable change from beauty brands and industry decision makers this week. The highly sought after editorial hairstylist and Global Artistic Director for amika penned a guide book that lays out direct actions that those decision makers can take to support Black hairstylists, including advice about hiring practices, normalizing Black beauty, and education about Black hair.
It comes on the heels of beauty brands making monetary donations to organizations such as Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, Color Of Change and more. Black creatives and Black brand owners are demanding longterm commitments to upending the current system that blocks opportunities for Black talent and essentially ignores the needs of Black consumers.
“There’s a global conversation about racism and inequality that is taking place and I’m cautiously optimistic to see that my colleagues in the hair care industry have an open ear and are ready to join in on the conversation,” LaFond said. “I think that outside of what is being done in your personal lives to advocate for change and injustice towards black people, that there also needs to be an internal look at your professional spaces and the changes that need to be made there.”
“I believe that the first step lies in recognizing the disproportionate lack of access that black people have to opportunities in this industry which lead to systematic and economic inequalities,” LaFond continued. “I want to be proactive, so I’ve made a list of ways that decision makers and leaders can help in making a real change in our industry that goes beyond a social media post. We are at a historical moment and I along with many of my peers are open to having this conversation with you (as awkward as it may get) so that we can advance as an industry in a way that is in true representation of all of its artists.”
Many Black leaders in the beauty industry are pushing for their non-Black colleagues to go further than statements in support of Black Lives Matter on their social media. UOMA Beauty Founder and CEO Sharon Chuter launched the #PutUpOrShutUp campaign calling for beauty brands to disclose to the public the number of Black people they have working in corporate and leadership roles at their companies.
Camara AUnique, celebrity makeup artist and owner of Camara AUnique Beauty, is adding her voice to the conversation by compiling a directory of more than 100 Black makeup artists and beauty influencers. Creatives can actually add themselves to the list to keep it up to date. In conjunction with LaFond’s guide book, it creates an environment where brands have no excuse to overlook Black creative talent.
“For years Black Artists are not treated fairly and it’s time to bring change in the beauty community,” AUnique said “My heart has always been for people.”
So brand leaders not only have a way to understand how they can do better and act on their vows to support the Black community, they have resource that they can reference to find artists that they might not have been acquainted with otherwise.