From The Grio — In 1992, Veronica Webb became the first African-American model to sign a major advertising contract with Revlon. Today, it’s not uncommon for black celebs to land lucrative ad campaigns promoting beauty products. So does this trend reflect a genuine commitment from the global cosmetic industry to embrace diverse beauty?

Indeed, twenty-five years ago it would have been near impossible for a black woman to be the face of trusted brands such as L’Oréal, Revlon and Estée Lauder. Today all that’s changed with the likes of Beyoncé, Halle Berry and Thandie Newton snagging profitable, six-figure deals, to market beauty products to women of all races across the globe.

This development, though, is not limited to the beauty industry. Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson fronts commercials for Weight Watchers and Mahogany Models Management, Europe’s largest agency for models of color, however, is skeptical about the cosmetic industry’s commitment to embrace multicultural beauty.

“The major cosmetic brands tend to use black celebrities to promote products,” Oyebade told theGrio.com. There is still the perception that “black doesn’t sell” and white consumers will buy into products if the women of color are well-known, he says.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

27 Comments

  1. I love how the comments whitewashed, light skinned and biracial come up. Black is black. When they see a black woman they see a black woman, whether she’s light skinned or dark skinned, you’re not European. If our only validation is that a dark skinned black woman get some shine we’ll never be satisified with how they portray us because they don’t play those appeasing shades of black games that we do. Why can’t we just be happy that a sista gets some shine at all.

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    • So we should settle for less? Insulting! Black is not black so we need to stop with the groupthink excuses. If Covergirl can hire Brandy then surely these companies can do better.

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  2. libby

    Thanks chanela…I was about to say that..

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  3. I like how they act like these women are the true representation of black beauty. All of these women are black 2.0. I noticed that P&G recently hired Paula Patton with no shame whatsoever. You can’t sell makeup to dark skinned women with light skinned chicks. Where are the Tika Sumpters, Renee Goldsberrys, Angela Bassetts, Naomie Harris’s, and the Keke Palmer’s? The reason why these companies aren’t making headway with black women is because they are telling us we aren’t good enough to represent their product. they all can go to hell. Black Opal, Black Radiance, Black|Up, Fashion Fair, and Sleek Makeup all hired dark black models. Why can’t companies here do that? I didn’t know my unmistakeable blackness was so offensive!

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  4. Twenty five years ago? Or are we only talking about celebrities as being the faces of these brands? I have several black magazines from twenty five years ago that featured several top models of color in ads for Revlon, L’Oréal products and other well known beauty products. Massed produced beauty products have always marketed to the black and brown consumer, it is some high-end brands which never fully marketed to that type of consumer, even Chanel once marketed through Essence magazine in their advertisements. I guess with polarization after the ’80s, advertisements became racially exclusive and we still supported these brands even when they didn’t court us. Since celebrities are gracing the covers of magazines and now hopefully selling beauty products this is a trend and really nothing new.

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  5. The statement ‘There is still the perception that “black doesn’t sell”…’ is directly proportional to the statement that “Black doesn’t crack” in terms of cosmetics.
    Although Black women, or any woman of color for that matter, do like cosmetics, and look for sources and products that represent us and understand our beauty needs, we simply don’t need as many cosmetic products as fairer women.

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    • rosie

      why, that’s always, always the excuse for why bw are never included with other women….they’re soooo different.

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    • I love the excuse that black women don’t need cosmetics. Yes we do. We use makeup, lighteners, peels, sun screen , color cosmetics, moisturizers, and lotions just like everyone else. There is no such thing as “Magic Black”.

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