Foundation launches have had a predictable cycle since the Fenty Effect settled into the beauty industry. Brands either create extensive shade ranges that serve skin tones equally and become social media darlings — or they release a foundation collection that instantly sparks beige rage.
There is also another part of the launch cycle that superstar influencer Jackie Aina wants us to be more aware of. While she has a history of calling out beauty brands for their non-inclusivity of women of color, the makeup guru wants upset social media users to remember that she isn't the spokesperson for outrage.
Aina also asked a pretty valid question: "Why do people revel in seeing black women get riled up every time they aren’t included in stuff, is it fun to witness????"
In other words, Aina refuses to be your resident torch blower. Black women's anger is neither a calling card nor is it entertainment. The emotions we feel are not just sitting around waiting on a fan to put in a request.
While the fan likely had great intentions, we all need to be more cognizant of how we engage with the leaders we follow online and in our real lives.
It's unfair for people of color to always be the only ones tasked with speaking up on diversity issues.
Similarly, women shouldn't be the only ones fighting for gender equality, and plus-size people shouldn't be alone in the fight against size-ism. People with disabilities shouldn't be the only ones bothered by and speaking against ableism. Equality isn't given as freely as it should be; it needs enforcement, and that's an all-hands-on-deck kind of job.
There is freedom in being able to use your voice to create change, but it transforms into just another weight when people start to treat it like your obligation or like your rants define you.
Jackie Aina — like all influencers of color — is more than just her rants about shade discrimination. She also gives really great business advice, creates a mean eye shadow look, critiques beauty products thoroughly, and provides really helpful skin-care tips.
She isn't the resident angry black influencer ready to bark at any brand who disappoints the culture for her followers' amusement.
As a black woman I feel confident enough assuming that — because Aina speaks up about A LOT. When she chooses not to bring something up, it's because baby girl is tired, occupied with other concerns, or both.
While being black is a beautiful thing, it can also be emotionally exhausting. We see racism every day of our lives. We call it out a lot, but some days we literally just CANNOT engage for self-care purposes. As much as we want to speak up for ourselves and others, sometimes the best thing for us is to let someone else do the work for a change.
It must be really hard to take that break when hundreds of people are tagging you online to make sure you see what you tried not to see so they can watch you get mad about it. It's something that specifically happens to beauty influencers of color, and we need to stop it.
Are people tagging their favorite white influencers to join in on the social media dragging? Do Jaclyn Hill, Nikkie Tutorials, and Kat Von D get pings on their platforms every time a foundation range skips dark skin? Probably not.
It's also just plain annoying when people could simply use their own voices to call out the trash in this beauty industry.
No one person should be responsible for calling out injustices when they see them. It's unnecessary stress, especially when we could all be pitching in to make this beauty industry a welcoming space for everyone.
If you think a rant about a non-inclusive shade range should exist, then start ranting. If you think a brand should be canceled, then stop buying its products and tell your friends to join you. When you notice a lack of brown faces on a beauty brand's Instagram page, leave a comment and ask where the melanin is. It matters!
There are also non-combative ways to fight these kinds of issues. You could unfollow the brand on social media, talk about the issue offline with friends to avoid that social media stress, or simply support all the brands that are getting inclusivity right by shopping them instead.
Be the change (and sometimes the viral outrage) YOU want to see in the world.
This ensures that you step up and do your part when it comes to making our world a more inclusive place. It also allows your leaders to take breaks when they need to. They deserve it, and we're all better when we focus on what we can do and avoid telling others what they need to do.
It's natural to have strong feelings about this industry's terrible practices. Let's just make sure we're gentler with each other as we fight this good makeup fight.