To all of the brands out there that stereotype, lack diversity or feel the need to put people in box – this is for you.
Spoiler alert: I’m mixed. Yes, that means in addition to acknowledging the lighter side of my family, I also embrace my “blackness”. Imagine my surprise when I was told through the grapevine that a brand I work with claimed that I was not “black enough” for a campaign. This stunned me. This frustrated me. This angered me. But most importantly, this empowered me.
So what did I decide to do? Make a video.
I won’t spoil all of the fun but here’s the deal: stereotyping and judging someone based on their skin color (or maybe the lack thereof)…that’s racism in one of it’s many forms. In the scope of things, not getting picked for a campaign may be small potatoes but it’s the thought process that fueled that decision that really struck a nerve. With everything that has been going on, especially over the past few weeks, it’s crucial that we all use our voices to start the dialogue. It might feel nearly impossible to start to make any resemblance of change but I promise you this: speaking up, educating, not being afraid to admit when you’re wrong – those are all things that will get us one step closer.
I am not angry at the person that said this. I feel bad for them. I feel bad for anyone with this mentality. But outside of that, I am excited. Excited to use my voice and (tiny) influence for good. Excited to hopefully open the eyes of someone who was closed off before. Excited to challenge this way of thinking in any level I can.
So here it goes. Watch the video. Share if you feel inclined to help start the conversation with your peers. Leave honest feedback. Do #allthethings because doing nothing gets you the only results you can expect. Nothing.
Awesomeness!! You are more than enough ✨✨✨
You go girl! Black comes in many shades. The term “Black” is the absence of light. So, technically no one on this earth is black! So the term African American is used. I’m not from Africa, nor are you but our ancestry leads us to the continent of Africa where there are white Africans. So, if they came to America, would they be African Americans? Now the term “White” is the maximum of lightness. Well, that means those that consider themselves white are not the maximum of lightless unless they are the sun! We are many shades that identify with a term that needs to fade into the history books and accept ALL as human beings.
I am shocked a brand would have the nerve to say something like that. Proud of you for having the courage to say something and speak out Lauren!
Thanks Ashley! I was equally shocked – but I’m glad it happened so we could start the dialogue!!
This is really inspiring because it happened to me the other day. I was told that dating a white man diminishes my “blackness”. It’s crazy to think we have to deal with this way of thinking in 2017! I’m glad you spoke out! It definitely takes courage.
Wow that is crazy. Thank you for reading/watching – hopefully we can start to enlighten people with such radical thinking!
But why do you think it’s ok for them to box you in a mixed category..?? .. and you were good with that, yet this particular brand you are referring to obviously needs someone that identifies as only African American to showcase how their product idenfies with black people .
Yes, I guess you could say both, but you said in your video you identify yourself as A mixed person. A mixed person, and black seems like two separate things to me. ????????♀️ Especially how one product will work on one compared to the other.
Thanks for your insight! To be clear – this specific brand was a clothing/accessories brand so I’d have to say that the product works on anyone. I don’t think it’s okay to box anyone is any category. As I stated in the video – I appreciate the brands that want to work with diverse women to help reach a more diverse audience. My problem is with a brand insinuating that there is only one type of “black”. If they want to be more inclusive, they should be open to all shades, backgrounds, sizes rather than trying to “Check a box”. But again, I really do appreciate you taking the time to watch and share your insight! It’s all part of the dialogue that I love!
Thanks for the reply. I understand the fact you would be upset that they thought you were not black enough…. but I could also understand their point of view, going on Model auditions in my day. I would get sorry, “you”re not what we’re looking for” (then they go with an bi-racial look)
I have even been told “we are not using black women in this shoot) (meaning dRk skin women) talk about being hurtful! But, in reality it was a job that just required tough skin and not letting rejection deter you. Everyone will not think you are a great fit, as I’m sure you probably know. They have the power to decide which group will work with their campaign the best and unfortunately you don’t fit the bill this time around . Is this dialogue an attempt to change their minds? Just asking? And also wondered. What did you say to them when they said “you were not black enough”?? Have a good weekend , and I will continue to check out your blog.
Thanks for sharing such a personal story. Maybe the brand wanted to work with a certain type of black woman (think Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, Taraji Henson) that aligned with their target market and that is there prerogative. What they said to you was harsh, but depending on the audience they obviously didn’t feel you were a fit.
While I think I understand that thought process – I don’t agree with it. The “certain type of black person” is what I find issue with. IF they truly wanted to share a diverse perspective, the phrase “she isn’t black enough” should never have been said. And I have no problem at all wth not being the right fit. It’s crazy to think I should be picked for everything 🙂 BUT, I should not NOT be picked because I don’ fit a stereotype that is based off of hatred in the first place.
Thank you so much for watching and sharing your insight though – I”m really happy to be having these conversations!!
It’s your prerogative to not agree as well. You identify as mixed; your IG & blog does not showcase much diversity at all. To me your target audience is Caucasian women.
My dad is biracial (half black/half white) and my mom is black. I identify as a black woman. My dad is mixed, I’m not.
Maybe the brand wanted bloggers who exemplified that black girl magic/Black Girls Rock lifestyle. Your platform does not serve that audience and there is nothing wrong with that.
Hi Michele – unfortunately, I think you are part of the problem. I acknowledge my ENTIRE background. My white grandmother, my mixed mother, my black father, etc. Which is why I shared that I identify as “mixed”. I appreciate that you view yourself as one way – but to be clear, I do NOT have to identify the same. You also probably shouldn’t speak on who you think my target audience is because the last time I checked, you do not have access to my demo and analytics which ACTUALLY highlight a healthy mix of backgrounds.
Again, while I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this post, I think that you saying I don’t “exemplify black girl magic” is really hurtful. I try everyday to do something amazing with my platform – and guess what, I am black. I am also in touch with the part of my background that is caucasian. Doing both does not take away my black girl magic.
Well if you’re ever stopped by the police, be sure to tell them you’re mixed.
Great post! Thanks for opening up this dialogue. It’s such a hard struggle that I can surely identify with. Being multi-racial as well, people want to put us in a box! I use to struggle with this so much – “feeling too “white” for the “black people” and too “black” for the “white people””. But there is great beauty in our diversity and as my fiancé loves to proudly call it “racial ambiguity”!! So kudos to you for having the guts & heart to discuss such a tough topic & being an inspiration to others!!! ❤️
Thank you so much for sharing your personal story! And thank you for listening and watching and being a part of the conversation with me!
Hello! Let me preface this by stating how much I love your blog and your fashion style and I hope that what I’m about to say doesn’t come across too harsh. But I do not think what you experienced was racism. I don’t see anything wrong with the brand deciding you weren’t the proper fit for a particular campaign. Now to use the words, “you’re not black enough”, is different. I can see how you would take offense to that because it sounds like your blackness is being questioned. But I would guess this was more a case of the brand feeling like you don’t have a look that would resonate with the audience they are trying to reach, especially if you’ve worked with this brand in the past. As a seasoned blogger, you have to know that many companies will only select or give preference to mixed race persons when looking for “diversity” and consider it done, when like you said, black people come in many shades, from light to dark. Yest darker complected women are often not represented when there are many lovely brown skinned bloggers to chose from. There are still very few black bloggers getting certain campaigns unless they looked mixed or very light skinned. I don’t see how you can stand on inclusion and diversity and not be somewhat understanding of the this brand’s decision and to some degree, appreciative of the fact that this brand is looking to represent women in darker shades of brown.
Hi Carla – thanks for sharing this!
I agree…and disagree. At the end of the day though – we have no way of knowing the intention behind the words and I think the physical words themselves bother me the most. If they were looking to showcase a wider range of complexions (bravo!), I would have appreciated that candid feedback rather than “she’s not black enough”.
Again – I took it as “she doesn’t fit the stereotype that we’re trying to cast” and what I have shared above is my response to that 🙂
I can’t imagine this was easy to record and share. Thank you for being so open. I enjoy your blog even though I’ve never posted a comment before but I did want to chime in on this post.
Do you think it would be worth it to reach out to the brand and have a discussion? I’m all about mutual understanding and never want to make assumptions or be misunderstood. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation to get to the root of an issue. You may have an opportunity to enlighten them on something they are missing the mark on. I would be curious about what exactly they mean by not black enough?
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