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Fifty Shades of Fenty

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Fifty Shades of Fenty

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In September 2017, singer Rihanna launched her cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty. The makeup line’s name comes from her surname, Fenty. “I wanted things that girls of all skin tones could fall in love with. In every product I was like, ‘There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl; there needs to be something for a really pale girl; there needs to be something in-between.’” she stated in an interview with Refinery 29. “There’s red undertones, green undertones, blue undertones, pink undertones, yellow undertones—you never know, so you want people to appreciate the product and not feel like: ‘Oh that’s cute, but it only looks good on her.’” she added.

Women across the globe took to social media to praise the music icon. Everyone from celebrities and beauty influencers to the simply beauty obsessed admired her inclusivity. Fenty beauty offers 40 foundation shades. Shortly after its release, she added 10 more shades. Her wide range of shades offer makeup options for women of darker skin tones who have been largely ignored by other companies. Her two darkest shade ranges are #490 and #498. #490 is for very deep skin with neutral undertones while #498 is for very rich, deep skin with neutral undertones.

In no time at all, several brands have been playing catch up. Most notably, Estée Lauder, L’ Oreal and KKW beauty. These brands released palettes containing their new shades made to match every skin color. It’s offensive to darker-skinned women’s intelligence and their worth. When they see these brands advertising on social media, they know they’re being capitalized on. Unfortunately, these companies don’t truly want to represent all women.  If they did, they would have released an inclusive cosmetic line to begin with. They simply want to capitalize on the revenue Fenty Beauty is making. Anyone, women especially, will spend their money where they see themselves being represented. Within the first month of its release, Fenty Beauty earned $72 million in earned media value or online publicity.

Representation is monumental for dark-skinned women especially when they are constantly being ridiculed for it. The importance of Rihanna’s products is the true embracement of women of all shades. It’s about the young girl who sees someone who looks like her in this campaign. It’s about the woman who’s waited a decade or more to finally have concealer that matches her skin color.

In an era where words such as inclusion and diversity are being tossed around, executives should remember one thing: People of any marginalized group, in this case darker-skinned women are people. They are not gimmicks to sale products, they are humans. They deserve to be treated as such.

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Fifty Shades of Fenty