Why Only Send PR to White Influencers?

An influencer of colour sitting in front of a big pile of make up PR boxes.

Since the pandemic, social media has become much, much more popular than it was before. This website’s content can attest to that — TikTok becoming big, impacting audiences, creators, and families for the better. There are different communities in TikTok (Fashion Community, Makeup Community, Manga community, etc), and each benefits in different ways. If an influencer gets big, they receive PR, free merchandising, brand trips, and much more.

Using makeup is not only about improving one’s appearance; it is a way of expressing one’s identity and self-expression.It is important for makeup brands to ensure that their products cater to a diverse audience. It is a sad reality that major makeup brands prefer to work with white influencers, leaving them little to no chance to represent individuals of color.

This systemic issue can be seen in the disproportionate representation of white influencers in the makeup TikTok industry. A simple search of popular makeup TikTok influencers will reveal that most are White. This is not because individuals of colour lack talent or interest in makeup; rather, it is because makeup brands prioritize working with white influencers, as they believe they will appeal to a larger audience.

Racism is everywhere if you care to look for it — the TikTok makeup industry is no different. FIT reinforces the idea that beauty standards are exclusively Eurocentric, and therefore, individuals of colour are not as marketable. This belief establishes the decade-long notion that people of colour are not worthy of representation in the beauty industry.

Secondly, it sends a message to young people of colour that they do not belong in the makeup industry. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and discouragement from pursuing their passion for makeup. People of colour need to feel seen and heard in the beauty industry.

Let’s do a little exercise

Look at your own ForYou page, whose makeup videos pop up more – a makeup artist of colour, or a White influencer? It is more likely you will see the latter pop up more, and they will have more sponsored content, more likes and more engagement. It is upsetting once you start looking at how prejudice is still alive and well, even in TikTok algorithms. 

 

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