I can’t tell you how proud I am to have written this week’s Grazia cover story on the rise of Rihanna’s beauty empire Fenty beauty. Her success has blasted away the old racist tune I have been hearing for 16 years when I have confronted marketing directors of major beauty brands, who told me in numerous different ways that “black doesn’t sell”. Presenting a couple of token, ashy colours that suit no- one, is no longer acceptable and with $100 million predicted sells in her first year of business, it’s clear for all to see that diversity and real shades for women and men of all skin tones is big business.
I’ve been asked why now and surely why has it taken so long for someone to do this, especially if there was money to be made. Logically brands would have done it sooner. Well, we’ve had 2 female leaders in this country, 2 more more than the US but does that mean that until 1979 there were no other women worthy of being a leader? Of course not, it just means the world was not ready to accept a woman (whatever your political leanings) with the reigns of power. It’s the same with Fenty Beauty.There has always been an audience for darker skin tones, there has always been men and women with darker skin tones willing to pay for amazing products but it has been the last bastion of institutional racism, that has meant there has not been an offering on the scale or celebration as Fenty Beauty.
Brands have not cared about people with darker skin tones, they have been a lazy afterthought and poor sales of rubbish token foundations have been the soothing balm, brands have swallowed down to validate their lack of care and respect for providing all with quality playful make up and products. Money talks and as we speak there are people scratching their heads on how to capitalise on this and ask how this all happened. It’s taken Rihanna, a woman of colour to lead the way with a range for herself and her loved ones, created with care and respect and fun to show the rest of the beauty industry how it’s done. I’m thrilled and excited for the future and inspired. Watch this space……..