Sephora, a top beauty retailer, is using its international reach to highlight how Black beauty trends and Black beauty are the blueprints of the beauty industry. Sephora’s short film Black Beauty Is Beauty traces the history and origins of some of your favourite beauty trends back to their Black roots. Garrett Bradley directs the short film. She is the first Black woman to win the Sundance best director award for Time 2020. The film starts in a beauty shop. WATCH THE FILM:
The short film begins in a beauty shop. As the camera pans over Black women, the narrator asks, “What is beauty without Black beauty?” While white industries co-opt Black genius and profit from it, did you know that the hairbrush was invented by a Black woman? Lyda D.Newman was an activist for women’s rights and an inventor. She patented the first easy-to-clean hairbrush with synthetic bristles. Newman is featured in Black Beauty Is Beauty. Her patented hairbrush design is highlighted in the film.
The film demonstrates a white individual applying a cut crease. Next, the film cuts to three drag queens beating their faces, and then to vogueing at drag balls. These trends are Black and queer. We inherited our Black mother’s love for skin care and made thick lotions from her.
Bradley’s vision has allowed for the inclusion of all bodies, orientations, and races. Black Beauty is Beauty doesn’t feel performative. Nobody feels excluded. In its short runtime of just under a minute, the film has more inclusion than any 2-hour feature film. Bradley and Sephora did more than just dip a toe into “diversity” and made a film that truly sees us. We didn’t have to wait for Black History Month to be recognized.
It doesn’t stop there. Sephora has links to Black-owned businesses, and Sephora promises to sell at least 15% of its shelves for Black-owned businesses. The page also contains useful information on Black brand challenges. There is also a link to apply Sephora Accelerate for brand incubation. This program helps founders of color build a successful business. September 20th is the deadline.
Sephora is a leader in Black beauty innovation through its words, actions and money. It is exactly as it should be.