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 

Sola Oyebade, the chief executive of 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 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…)

  • chanela

    this article talks about how loreal “white washed” beyonce but are we REALLY gonna ignore the fact that the majority of “black” women represented in these beauty companies are biracial? half of the women are biracial and the other half are light skinned as hell so they might as well be biracial.

    why isn’t angela basset a spokesperson for makeup?or tika sumpter? gabrielle union is the only one who actually looks like the majority of black women.

  • HuesofHoney

    @Chanela…….Yes…We must pretend we don’t notice that the majority of these women are not actually…Black. Black people are to no longer look like the people that were brought here from Africa…YOU(black folks) must believe… what you are forced to accept in the media….black is ugly….so people can justify discriminating against actual black people. And of course…black people can’t figure this out…..that’s why it works.

    It’s call weeding people out as options for jobs and oppurtunities. I have nothing against anyone….But, why is it that these companies will go and get more afro latino’s or interacial women and call it representing the black community….when they honestly have no real connect to our community…they just look like they might And black people wondering why we are in(still and going backwards) the situation we are in now…high unemployment and lack of wealth. We being told we must accept everything above our own. And that’s why stuff like this works. count down to the attack…1, 2, 3!

  • watcher

    okay, we seriously need to stop asking for black representations of everything…”their” standards of beauty are unrealistic for white women already why the hell would we want that for ourselves????
    It’s like asking for a black version of MTV (aka BET)

  • African Mami

    The cosmetic industry has NOT embraced diverse beauty, what it has done is shifted its marketing strategies to seem as being inclusive. In actuality it has shifted its profit making markets from the West to ethnic markets-Africa, Asia, Latin, Carribean-as the Western market is already SATURATED! Why not, look into penetrating other markets?! First mover advantages and the like will be accrued in the process. Smart business move!

  • Natasha

    Yes, a lot of the women are biracial, but at the same time… these are actresses and singers. They’re only being used because they can sell these products due to their high fan base, as opposed to a regular black model. See the difference?

  • Natasha

    First of all, there is no one look that represents black women or people for that matter. Black people come in all sorts of shades, hair texture, height, and bone structure. Yes, many light skinned women are represented in these commercials. Yes, they need to diversify it up! Yes, I agree with all the women that were mentioned above. Especially Angela Basset. (that’s my girl) However, please don’t say they’re what most black women look like for we all have different backgrounds and to say that “You’re not really black” because of someone’s skin complexion only creates more problems.

  • ItsComedic…

    No. Please explain what you mean…

  • essence

    We, as black women, participate in our own proverbial diss by buying products from companies that do not celebrate the beauty of black women. We should buy exclusively from companies that have products for the darkest of our sisters and use models that reflect the range of colors black women are. Think Fashion Fair, Iman, Black Opal, Black Up, MAC, Clinique, Estee Lauder,etc. Just stop buying and companies will take the hint.

  • Natasha

    A black model is different from a black actress or a singer because an actress or singer can make a company sell way more products because of their fan base as opposed to a model who just… models. My opinion is that these companies aren’t using black models to sell their products because it won’t sell as much if they used a black actress or singer. It’s about using people who have a huge fan base or people at least know their names.

  • Isis

    Totally agree with chanela and hues. Those women they showcase are biracial. People from Africa before slavery were blue black. We only have all these different shades because of race mixing so black people who claim we come in all colors don’t know true history. They only know what the plantation master has planted in their heads. Its very sad

  • ItsComedic…

    No wonder I don’t buy as much mainstream products. I let my money speak for me….


    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.

  • libby

    Thanks chanela…I was about to say that..

  • Ciderkiss

    @Chanela you beat me to the punch! None of those women are fully black which is insulting! When you sell makeup and the darkest you go is Rihanna then do you think the majority of black women will buy your product? I also noticed that they failed to mention Brandy who had a coveted Covergirl contract!

  • Ciderkiss

    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!

  • chanela

    @natasha nobody is saying that black people aren’t light skinned. i know this! but why are they always the ONLY ones in hollywood?i’m so over biracial people being “the first black_____” yes they LOOK black but we need to quit with the one drop rule.

    you would NEVER see a white and korean biracial child be “the first asian____”. they are biracial and acknowledge that they are two different races and thats what they are. why can’t black +___ biracial people do that too? why must they pick a side when both of their parents contributed to their genes? i know we’ve had this convo soo many times on clutch but its not cool to say “first black woman to get an oscar” when halle is half white and has white features. come on!

    i’m pretty sure people are gonna attack me on this but its really getting irritating. apparently black people are only accepted in this world if they are half white and we need to quit settling for that. why can’t a full black person be in movies,get makeup contracts,and get oscars? why only the mixed ones?

  • Ciderkiss

    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.

  • lulu

    lol @ black 2.0

  • Von

    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.

  • apple

    why when someone famous got like 2%(exaggerating) nonblack in them they automatically NOT black or completely biracial. beyonce does not look mixed to me, she looks like a regular black person .. if she weren’t famous no one would be arguing that.. but everytime someone makes it big everyone automatically brands them “not black.”. then discredits all their black blood like their some kinda of magical negro, or they are great/liked/pretty/successful because of that 2% drop of white/creole/hispanic blood.. if this were 1864 in the US, where do you think beyonce would be? not on the the plantation because she got a little white blood?

    no one questions kelis’ or keyshia cole biracialness , i guess because they aren’t on the level of beyonce or rihanna.. but i guaranteed you if they did reach that level everyone would go in their family history from 5 blood lines ago discredit on how not black they are(or any other black woman for that matter)! but its amazing no one brings up the not blackness of black men.. no one goes around saying oh terrence howard got this because he’s mixed or will smith is represented in alot of movies because he is .0001% white.. or denzel must be a great actor because in 1650 his grandfather was white

  • Ciderkiss


    A. Those men are racially mixed, but we know damn well black men aren’t held to the same standards as black women when it comes to BEAUTY. Black men are allowed to come in all shades, be mixed race, and be loved. You are well aware of this. We get the Maxwell’s, Terrence Howard’s, and Shemar Moore’s. We are hard pressed to find a black female equivalent of Idris Elba, Omar Epps, and Denzel Washington’s. Oh, by the way when did we start calling a half a whole? This is why we have this issue. I don’t want to hear about plantation politics because it’s almost 2012 and so much has changed.

    B. Keyshia Cole, and Kelis are in the same boat as Rihanna, Beyonce, and Paula Patton. I have no clue what you are rambling about there. You are being permissive of colorism, and discrimination. The whole “why can’t we all just get along” is not a good excuse to hide this bad behavior. These women who are light-skinned/mixed are parading around as the “ideal” black woman who isn’t really black. The overwhelming vast majority of black women don’t look like them. When are we going to stand up, and defend dark skinned women the same way we defend light skinned women? When!? If we defended and TRULY supported them we wouldn’t have this problem.

  • AnnT

    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.

  • rosie

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

  • Ciderkiss

    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”.

  • chic noir

    As far as blk models go:

    Jourdan Dunn is representing both YSL and Burberry cosmetics.

    Jessica White was with Covergirl but now she with Maybeline

    Lancome also has a blk model Arlensis Desosa.

    All of the models I mentioned are at least medium complexioned.

    Lets not forget Kerry Washington with Loreal. Angela Baset was with Oil Olay.

  • aiych

    and don’t forget Liya Kebede, I think she was the first black woman to have a contract with Estee Lauder or something like that…and that was just a few years ago.

  • Ciderkiss

    @Chic Noir & @Aiych

    Jessica White is a white girl dipped in chocolate. She doesn’t make up for the crappy makeup Maybelline makes for black women. Kerry Washington is not used in advertisements as much and is shoved to the background of L’Oreal, they did the same with Aishwarya Rai an Indian woman. Angela Bassett wasn’t doing Olay for very long because I only saw her a few times before she disappeared. As far as the other models go they are advertising high-end brands that most of us don’t buy on a regular basis. My issue is that black women that are used in high-end brands do not relate to regular girls like me who can’t splurge on a $30 tube of lipstick. My problem is that black girls aren’t readily used for commercial advertisements for the products that we buy, and gush about all the time. When we do get hired we look Europeanized. It’s really offensive. I want to see myself represented.

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