Fashion blogger calls out brands for ignoring black influencers

Woman working at cafe (Photo: Getty Images)
Woman working at cafe (Photo: Getty Images)

In the constantly evolving landscape of fashion bloggers, it sometimes seems like it's nothing but beautiful, able bodied, slim 20-somethings showing off their style.

And, according to one blogger of color, that’s because brands – who often pay influencers to try their products or go on trips – favor a certain look when it comes to working with influencers.

Alicia Tenise, a fashion and travel blogger, tweeted that “Black influencers are rarely ever invited on influencer trips,” along with some images of press trips she had screenshot to illustrate her point. The women pictured on the press trips are all uniformly white appearing.

Her tweet, which was liked over 12,000 times as of this story, clearly struck a chord. One woman quickly responded that she was fighting this with data, and shared a chart of how much black consumers spent on beauty products, fragrances, food and other branded items that companies work with influencers to grow awareness and sell product.

Her post was also met with positive feedback from some of the influencers pictured. Emily Wilkinson wrote that she was also appalled by the lack of inclusion, and thanked Tenise for speaking up.

Wilkinson also asked an important question: What can be done to improve the lack of diversity in casting?

Another poster suggested calling out brands and ask how many black or other women of color are being included, calling to mind Frances McDormand’s speech at the 2018 Oscars about inclusion riders.

Another woman pointed to the clients as a problem, as she claimed to have tried to cast for diversity in ethnicity, size and more in her proposals, only to have brands stick with non-diverse casting for trips and other opportunities.

That being said, Tenise eventually followed up her original tweet with an update that after calling attention to the issue, two of the brands she called out have reached out to her, and noted that speaking up had made a difference

Other black fashion bloggers have brought this issue to the forefront, with UK based Stephanie Yeboah writing in the Metro that, “it is disturbing to see a continued pattern of blatant sidelining and absence of women of colour in this relatively new industry.”

The reality is, at this time, there aren’t a lot of hard facts or figures surrounding the lack of inclusivity and diversity – whether color, size or able bodied – within the influencer industry. Most of the conversation exists on social media, and will continue to do so until more brands step up and work with a variety influencers.

We’ve reached out to Tenise and will update this story when we hear back.

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