The recent killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers has brought on a massive uprising. In all 50 states, and even in other countries, protesters are pouring into the streets to call for change. People are banding together, yet again, to demand that the government make substantial changes to the police force and address the racial injustices occurring in the United States. And many more are calling on individual citizens to wake up and address the racism happening in their own communities and corporations.
Sharon Chuter, CEO and founder of UOMA Beauty, is one leader on the front line who's calling for change within the beauty industry. In an initiative launched Wednesday called "Pull Up or Shut Up," Chuter calls for beauty brands to release public reports stating their percentage of black employees, as well as the number of black employees holding a leadership role.
Chuter thanked brands for their #BlackoutTuesday statements of support, but explained: "Whereas we appreciate the support, be conscious that to piggy back off of 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." Her call to action also calls for consumers to participate in silent protest by abstaining from purchasing products with these brands until their statistics have been released.
The "Pull Up for Change" campaign was created to promote real change within corporate companies, and not just in the form of a social media post or a monetary donation. "The corporations are the gate keepers of mass participation and they have failed the black community, woefully," said Chuter.
As for UOMA Beauty, it was founded in 2019 on the premises of promoting inclusivity. "My inspiration for this campaign was frustration. The same inspiration for me to set up my brand. It was once again frustration at the failure of corporations and the complacency," said Chuter.
Chuter is hopeful that this campaign will inspire brands to hire Black people, explaining: “This is not an exercise in naming and shaming but simply a call for all brands to review their own practices. It’s easy to say racism is other people’s problem but it’s important at this critical point in time that we all look at how we may have contributed to this issue and have the humility to accept it and make an effort to change it."