There has been a flood of support for the Black Lives Matter movement from beauty brands over the last few days. But activists want to see more than just donations and black squares posted on social media; they want to see real cultural change within the corporations themselves. That’s why Sharon Chuter, founder and chief executive officer of Uoma Beauty, launched #PullUpOrShutUp earlier last week.
The social media campaign calls for beauty brands who have donated to Black Lives Matter causes to publicly release the number of Black executives they have working at the corporate level.
In an introductory Instagram post for the 72-hour campaign, Sharon Chuter warned brands that they need to do more than simply issue a public statement condemning racism.
“Whereas we understand and appreciate the support, 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. So we ask all brands who have released a statement of support, to publicly release within the next 72hrs the number of black employees they have in their organizations at corporate level. We also need to know the number of black people you have in leadership roles,” she wrote.
View this post on Instagram
Dear Brands – Thank you for the public statements of support for the black community. Whereas we understand and appreciate the support, be conscious that to piggy back 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. So we ask all brands who have released a statement of support, to publicly release within the next 72hrs the number of black employees they have in their organisations at corporate level. We also need to know the number of black people you have in leadership roles. You all have statements and policies about being equal opportunity employers, so show us the proof! PULL UP or SHUT UP! #pulluporshutup @pullupforchange
Chuter shared several statistics about the number of black people employed in white-collar professions (8%) and revealed that only 3.2% of black people are in executive or senior management level roles. As part of the campaign, she urged consumers to stop buying from their favorite brands until they take part in the challenge.
Though the campaign asked for the number of Black executives to be released within days, Chuter knows that most beauty companies won’t pull the numbers together in time. “We asked for 72 hours to give us something tangible. I hope they respond, but I know they probably won’t. Because guess what, it took America nine days for three white people to be arrested. Nine days of America on fire,” she says. “The longer they keep it, it’s just going to get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger. It is in their best interest to act quickly.”
View this post on Instagram
#pulluporshutup Please join me in holding corporations accountable. We are asking all corporations/brands who went black yesterday to release the number of black employees they have at a corporate and executive level. Show us you really mean it and you are ready to stop being a part of the system of oppression and marginalization. It’s simple No jobs or support for businesses = poverty Poverty = crime Crime = 33% of prison population = They shoot us when they see us Help us dismantle this system of oppression once and for all. @pullupforchange #pulluporshutup #blacklivesmatter
#PullUpOrShutUp is asking for the creation of an independent diversity board for beauty companies—funded by both the government and the industry—with representatives from every marginalized group. “We all have to be there and sit down to discuss the issue and solutions, because it is a complex problem,” she says.
By: Dammy Eneli