Dear Kim Kardashian,
Girl, we need to talk.
I understand you have your hustle, and makeup is an exciting new venture for you. You're the undisputed Kween of Kontour, so when you released your contour kit, everyone and their grandma purchased one. You made $14 million in five minutes! Hot damn!
However, when I saw the shades you were making, I was shocked. Not only were there only four, but the darkest shade you chose to make — and the model you cast to show it off — wasn't dark at all.
Seriously? This is your "deep dark" model?
I'm a dark-skinned Black woman, and this is offensive.
It's no wonder that everyone on Instagram and Twitter, myself included, was taken aback by this. As one of your followers said, "Your model for 'dark' is NOT dark & your model for 'deep dark' should be the model for dark. Get it together!"
You see, it's taken a while for ACTUAL dark-skinned beauty-lovers (like myself) to be included in makeup at all. Most foundation shades stop at medium, and forget about finding a contour color deep enough.
And then you insult us by casting a not-really-dark-complected model and saying her skin is "deep dark," then push us out by not extending your shade range PAST this point?
It's colorism, plain and simple. It tells dark-skinned Black women that your products are not for the likes of us.
And it's more than that. Pushing dark-skinned women out of your line, then LITERALLY replacing them with lighter-skinned women, is damaging to people of color everywhere.
Kim, you're one of the biggest names in the world, and THIS is the person you chose to represent dark-skinned women? You said in an interview that you, a white woman, use the dark contour stick some days. Did that not tell you something?
That aside, if you'd actually made a little effort to be inclusive of deeper skin tones, you could have sent a powerful message. If you set this example with the shade range you offer in your line, other brands would follow suit. They'd have to. You're Kim Kardashian.
But you didn't. You re-categorized complexions, and completely pushed dark-skinned women out. You reinforced the racist, colorist idea that light skin is better and dark skin is undeserving. Dark-complected women who almost never see themselves represented in beauty might even start to question if they're worthy of being included in makeup lines. Is their beauty valuable? Important?
In the Black community, Kim, we still struggle with colorism. Colorism — where lighter skin is prized over darker tones — is one of the lasting wounds of slavery, since darker slaves did field work, while lighter slaves worked in the house. These wounds run deep and permeate many aspects of our culture. You straight up re-categorizing what "deep dark" skin means is just another instance of this — whether or not it was intentional on your part, Kim.
Light skin is still treasured in many cultures and communities, and America is no different. Although the media has thankfully come a long way, you'd still be hard-pressed to find a dark-skinned woman in a majority of ad campaigns, magazine covers, films, or TV shows.
Your family's instances of cultural appropriation aside, Kim, as a mother of a multiracial daughter, you HAVE to do better.
Since you weren't raised in the Black community, I can understand your ignorance on this issue. But like it or not, your kids won't have that luxury. Your daughter is partially Black. She'll sadly be judged by her hair texture, skin tone, and size. And since you're her mother, you'll need to guide her through that.
What kind of examples are you setting, Kim, by the choices you make for the businesses that bear your name?
I hope that as a woman who literally has the fashion and beauty industries in the palm of her hand, you do better. I hope you take a serious look at your brand and your life, and think about how you could use your considerable power and influence to change beauty standards for the community you're now a part of.
Kim, it's the least you can do.