Walmart Will No Longer Lock Up Black Beauty and Grooming Products

Megan Gustashaw

Today Walmart announced that it will stop putting "multicultural" personal care products in anti-theft locked cases in "about a dozen" of its stores. The big-box giant had come under fire for keeping products most commonly purchased by Black people under lock and key even as comparable generic products were unprotected.

The practice was the subject of a federal discrimination lawsuit brought forward by a California woman, Essie Grundy, last year but was eventually dropped. Grundy sued the retailer after having to ask a store employee to unlock beauty supplies on three separate occasions, once to buy a 48-cent comb. Now, as the protests over the police killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement are putting pressure on retailers to end practices seen as racist, Walmart has agreed to remove the products from security cases.

Walmart isn't the only retailer feeling pressure. Boho mall fixture Anthropologie has been accused of using code names to monitor Black shoppers, and Reformation's founder apologized after accusations of racism from her employees. Activists and consumers are also calling on mass retailers to support black talent on their leadership teams and in the array of brands they carry. This week designer Aurora James's 15 Percent Pledge successfully recruited Sephora to the cause. The beauty retailer has committed to dedicating at least 15% of its shelf space to Black-owned brands.

Style

Designer Aurora James’s 15 Percent Pledge calls on big retailers to devote shelf space to historically underrepresented brands.

Originally Appeared on GQ

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