Why This Beauty CEO Is Asking Corporations to “Pull Up or Shut Up“

Photo credit: Raydene Salinas Hansen
Photo credit: Raydene Salinas Hansen

From Cosmopolitan

In response to the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, you’ve likely noticed some of your favorite beauty brands have taken to Instagram to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement—whether they’ve posted pledges to “do better” as a company or they’ve disclosed monetary donations. And while these public gestures aren’t a bad place to start—emphasis on the word “start”—Sharon Chuter, founder and CEO of Uoma Beauty, thinks the responsibility of these brands shouldn’t stop there. That’s why Chuter launched Pull Up or Shut Up on Wednesday: a 72-hour campaign that asks beauty brands to release the exact number of Black employees at their companies.

“Be conscious that to piggyback off a trending hashtag when you have been and continue to be a part of the problem is once again appropriating and exploiting the Black community,” reads the campaign’s open letter on Instagram. “You all have statements and policies about being equal opportunity employers, so show us the proof.”

According to the campaign, roughly 8 percent of people employed in white-collar professions are Black—and only 3.2 percent of them are in executive or senior management roles. Let that sink in for a second. “Many brands don’t want disclose their diversity numbers—but the first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem,” Chuter tells Cosmo. “That accountability and humility is a start.”

Since Pull Up or Shut Up went live on Wednesday, a handful of brands have already stepped up to the plate, including Pür Cosmetics, Versed, Elf, Milk Makeup, and more—but don’t expect the work (or the receipts) to stop at the 72-hour mark. “My push for phase two is that we need to set up independent diversity boards made of all people of marginalized groups,” says Chuter. “They will be charged with implementing true policies for change, documenting this, working with the companies to ensure their staffs are diverse and that those people are protected.”

So what does that mean for you? Well, for starters, you can (a) put your money toward Black-owned businesses and (b) hold any brands not on that list fully accountable. “If you demand change, they will give it to you. You asked for cruelty-free products—they gave it to you. You asked for vegan products—they gave it to you. Now ask that Black lives matter,” says Chuter.

“That’s all this Black woman is asking of the world—to truly ask that corporations put their money where their mouth is and really show that Black lives matter. Period.”

Follow @PullUpForChange on Instagram for a running list of the brands that have disclosed their numbers.

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