In the last few weeks, a growing list of companies, across various industries, have responded to protests and the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, among many others. Corporate America has shared messages of empathy and solidarity, as well as financial support to organizations to fight racial injustice.
But is this enough?
The answer is no. It’s a start. As companies urgently look to immediate action and short-term solutions, we must remember that corporate culture is far from equitable and filled with systemic inequality. In order to make real progress, companies must recognize the work that must be done internally, within their own organizations. Transparency is key.
Last week, Sharon Chuter, CEO of Uoma Beauty, launched Pull up or Shut Up, a 72-hour campaign that asks beauty brands to share the number of black employees they have in their organization at a corporate level. Dozens of companies including Ulta, L’Oréal, Glossier, and Elf Cosmetics posted employee breakdowns.
After 72 hours, Chuter called out organizations. Moving forward she said, “Every two days, we’ll choose a set of eight brands, and we will give them each 72 hours to pull up. If they don’t pull up by then, we will call them out on it.”
“Action starts with accountability, and we have to make the public the custodians of this,” she told Forbes. Since then, companies like Sephora, Estée Lauder, P&G Beauty, Unilever, and Kylie Cosmetics have “pulled up”.
According to Chuter, “Only 8 percent of people employed in white collar professions are black.”
We must do better. Although this is not the answer, it is a step in the right direction. The public has the power to hold brands accountable. As Chuter said, “We need to push transparency to the forefront because only transparency will drive consciousness.”
Follow @pullupforchange on Instagram to see if your favorite beauty brands have “pulled up” and pledged to do better.