Why Will Bus Stops Say the Names of Victims But Maybelline Won’t?

The Largest Makeup Line in the World is Back to Business as Usual.

I received a reply to the email I sent to a Maybelline representative on June 10th. Below is my next open letter response.

Thanks for the additional information. You said that after I was asked for referrals to trans women willing to do social media work for freem that the concept changed, talent appearing in the “non-editorial content” for Pride last year were paid. What about talent appearing in branded "editorial" content? You also said that the Maybelline Pride initiatives would be rolling out. It's now June 15th.

You also said Maybelline would do better and be active on social to advocate.

When?

Has Maybelline found nothing significant enough to speak about?

On Friday, Trump eliminated rules protecting trans people from discrimination while seeking healthcare. There was the four year anniversary of the murder of 49 LGBTQ people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It is the largest mass shooting of American civilians in history. There was what would have been Breonna Taylor’s birthday.

Maybelline couldn’t find one single thing to say about any of this???

I’ve done eight hours of Instagram live conversations supporting Black and LGBTQ small businesses while also talking about racial and anti-LGBTQ injustice. Thousands of people have watched so far. Imagine what Maybelline could be doing, but hasn’t. I am one person. Maybelline is the largest makeup brand in the world. I worked on your New York Fashion Week teams with Maybelline makeup artists from around the world, many who were hired in part because of their built-in media following. Because Maybelline’s lack of genuine support for LGBTQ people and people of color has gone on so long, I don’t expect the brand to be doing much more than scrambling at the moment, but what seems perfectly reasonable is that even if the people working at the brand don’t know what to say, they should know how to listen. You posted a statement from Trisha Ayyagari (nearly two weeks after protests began) saying that you wanted to do better. Nothing has happened. The next day, Maybelline posted six pictures of products. Was there no room to shout out a petition could or a charity, or a denouncement of race based violence? How many gay male makeup artists have represented Maybelline at New York Fashion Week? How many have been national makeup artists for Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani Beauty? As well as account executives, sales associates, photographers, marketers, executive assistants. We all made L’Oreal money. The least you can do is speak up and in no unclear terms say that we deserve than to have our employers sit silent while our government perpetuates hate that puts our safety at risk because of who we love, where we come from, or the color of our skin.

These are not political issues. These are humans rights issues. Neutrality is longer an option.

I don’t expect Maybelline and L’Oréal brands to know what to say because so little has been done this far. But what I do expect is that with access to the most powerful marketing resources on the planet, someone would have said, “We don’t know what to do, but we do know how to listen.”

Maybelline New York is named for the most diverse city in the world. Why is it that the New York City bus stops have declared more names of wrongly murdered Black people in this country than Maybelline has? ( I’ve attached a video as proof).

You have ten million followers just on Maybelline’s Instagram platform. Imagine starting to “do better” by having Trisha Ayyagari speaking to the founders of Black Lives Matter, or the founder of The Trevor Project as a guest on Instagram live. You use this tool all the time to convince customers to buy your products. Imagine letting yourselves and your customers listen to a conversation about why we’re entitled to our humanity? About why we’re entitled not have to live in fear of being shot. But Maybelline and L’oreal have nothing further to say about any of this, and even after 14 days of protests? There was time to post 18 pictures of makeup and models, but nothing about human rights or a national tragedy?

Instead, there is one general sentence about inclusivity, and a referral to the Instagram story which has come and gone. Again, I may not have access to the most powerful social media resources in the world, but I do know that when something matters to me, I make sure people can see it for more than 24 hours.

So I come back to my original concern. Will Maybelline and L’Oréal do better for people of color and LGBTQ people, or will you just wait in hope we’ll go back to suffering in silence?

We won’t.

pop culture
Andrew Sotomayor
Andrew Sotomayor
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Andrew Sotomayor

With 17 years of experience in beauty editorial, red carpet, fashion, film, television, and brand development, Emmy winning celebrity makeup artist, Andrew Sotomayor is a go-to for makeup tips, temporary tattoos, and inspiration.

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