Last week multiple brands retailers and agencies put up #BlackLivesMatters squares on their Instagram accounts, calling out the injustices that have happened to Black people over the past hundreds of years. Brands put out statements showing how they are going to do better to stand in solidarity.
Thanks to #PullUpOrShutUp, many brands have made additional statements and created action plans. However, when called to task and asked specifically about their statistics on their Black employees, initiatives and true diversity, many brands fell silent.
Even more important to note?! When it comes to the plus community, there is one major point that these brands who cater to the plus consumer must understand:
The growth of plus size fashion has happened largely off of the backs of black women
For the past 15 years, we have had Black and Brown women pushing, challenging, and inspiring self-acceptance, body diversity, and the fashion that comes along with it.
Social media’s growth has been the catalyst to usher in the growth of the plus size fashion space by amplifying those voices.
And others have recognized how impactful these Black voices have been, specifically in the plus size community.
So, imagine my surprise when one of the largest conglomerate brands, FullBeauty Brands was uncomfortably silent. Full Beauty, the plus size retailer that house Roamans, Jessica London, Woman Within, Swimsuits for All, Ellos, Brylane Home.
THE ONLY BRAND from the family who spoke up is Swimsuits for All. ONLY ONE.
Melissa of FabGlance shared her frustrations with me, and I had to check for myself.
To our surprise (not really), there was nothing.
Melissa continued to share with me how they had sent emails, DMs, tweets, all which fell on silent ears. So, Melissa decided to do something about it.
Along with a few other Full beauty influencers, they got together to fashion a letter, breaking everything down, along with action items.
An Open Letter to FullBeauty Brands & those Retailers Silently Watching
Dear Jim Fogerty,
We are writing to you as a collective group of influencers who work with FullBeauty Brands as influencers and bloggers. While we have enjoyed our partnership in past collaborations, we are disappointed to see that FullBeauty Brands took so long to make a statement about the injustices being highlighted in the media as it related to the Black Lives Matter movement, the murder of George Floyd, and the racism taking place in our country.
We would like to believe that Fullbeauty Brands stands for racial justice, diversity and inclusion as your company makes profit off of the work of black influencers and black consumers. Your silence of over 11 days spoke volumes. We’d like to give the benefit of the doubt and understand it may have taken a few days to cultivate a statement.
Since the murder of George Floyd there have been protests in all 50 states making this the largest civil rights movement in history. Urgency and promptness are critical for brands and influencers to show our support for Black Lives.
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2020 is STILL MY YEAR! Say it with me now! Yes, an invisible pandemic, murder hornets, tornados, and weirdly being stuck at home – all this has not stopped my shine! I declared 2020 was my year in 2019. Has 2020 been challenging? HELL YES! But so far it’s taught me that I’m emotionally stronger than I thought I was, way smarter than I’d been giving myself credit, more giving than I thought I could ever be, and fine enough to pull your uncle (and his son!). Oh yeah, and I’m saving money! Believe, life won’t be like this for long. We will have ups and downs. BUT THIS YEAR CAN BE YOUR YEAR if you let it! | dress from @ellosusa
We are writing to you today to ask what FullBeauty Brands is doing to help cultivate an atmosphere for racial justice and speak out against racial injustices:
- How are you supporting those affected by these injustices in your work force and in the community at large?
- Do you have black people on your leadership team?
- Do you plan to create an influencer program that pays all influencers fairly and equally despite race?
- What current diversity and inclusion efforts are taking place?
- What kind of work is your organization doing to give back?
The Movement for Black Lives needs the support of organizations like FullBeauty Brands to not only show support but make commitments to amplify the voices of those impacted daily by racial injustices. We as influencers and companies we partner with need to utilize our voices and platforms to bring forth change.
We are not asking for extraordinary measures. Similar to the brands on the @pullupforchange profile, we feel that showing consumers what plans you have to address adding diversity to your executive board. And how you plan to donate funds to organizations that are fighting for racial equality.
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Don’t mind me … just roaming the empty streets of Nashville wearing a dress that will most certainly be a hit when the world opens up again. Also, I shall wear this dress for next week’s conference calls because it’s the easiest way to ‘get dressed’ but not wear pants! Thanks @ellosusa for this whole look!
We are asking that FullBeauty Brands make a public statement on their social profiles against racism and also to commit to giving money to any of these suggested non-profits and relief efforts:
BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity) is a national Leadership Training Program designed to help rebuild Black (African-American, Caribbean, African, Afro-Latino) social justice infrastructure in order to organize Black communities more effectively and re-center Black leadership in the U.S. social justice movement.
Color of Change: ColorOfChange.org exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice. Our goal is to empower our members – Black Americans and our allies – to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.
Southerners on New Ground: Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South.
Audre Lorde Project: ALP is a New York-based organization that dedicates itself to achieving social and economic equality for LGBT communities of color.
The Innocence Project: With multiple branches throughout the nation, The Innocence Project works to exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes by providing free legal assistance.
Black Lives Matter: Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
We are glad Full Beauty Brands has issued a statement. But, we believe more can be done to monetarily support black led organizations right now.
Racial justice can no longer be a side line item for companies we work with. Many of us are personally donating money. So, we are not asking you for anything we aren’t doing ourselves
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It’s WILD to see some of my favorite locations destroyed due to the tornado that hit Nashville. Just last year @authenticphotosanddesigns and I shot this look at @shopmollygreen in East NASHVILLE. Now the location is gone. [SWIPE] I’ve been through the tornado of 98’, the flood of 2003, and now this. What I can say, Nashville comes together like no other city I’ve ever lived in! We are the Volunteer State for a reason. In my instastory I mentioned three of my fave community organizations that are working tirelessly with Nashville’s residents. Continue to look for ways to help throughout the next 90 days. Oh yeah, visit #MollyGreen stores to donate NEW packs of socks, new underwear, water, and toiletries. #NashvilleStrong
We want to live in a more just world, and work with brands who are ethically and morally aligned with justice and the fight for racial equality.
Kali De Benedetti
And they did reply, but it was lackluster. Their response from the CEO:
We appreciate your perspective and will take your and the group’s views into consideration.
And you know what makes this whole incident worse?
They have since SUSPENDED their influencer program, through letters sent to select bloggers, instead of addressing the issue and putting forth action.
This issue though is not unique to FullBeauty Brands, although this is one of the most concerning responses…
What say you? What do you think about this?