In the aftermath of George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis and the organised protests across the country that followed, dozens of companies large and small have united to show their support for the Black community, mainly in the form of donations and social media posts. But as the conversations about antiracism continue online and more companies announce their ally-ship, one beauty brand founder is hoping to hold all of them accountable.
Sharon Chuter, founder and CEO of Uoma Beauty, launched the Pull Up or Shut Up Challenge on June 3 in the hopes of putting a spotlight on the presence of Black people (or lack thereof) in leadership positions in corporate America. Per her notes, Black people make up eight percent of corporate roles in America and three percent of management roles, but the numbers are even more bleak when it comes to Black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, as only four Black people in the US hold those positions.
Chuter's campaign is calling on consumers to refrain from spending money with brands that have made public statements about their support for the Black community for 72 hours or until said brands publicly disclose the number of Black employees working in their offices and headquarters.
"This is not an exercise in naming and shaming but simply a call for all brands to review their own practices," she said in a statement. "It's easy to say racism is other people's problem but it's important at this critical point in time that we all look at how we may have contributed to this issue and have the humility to accept it and make an effort to change it."
Chuter continued, "Black people remain starved of economic opportunities. We can create long term economic change for black people by simply holding brands accountable to practice what they preach. Many don't even have options in their product ranges for Black people and [it's] 2020!"
"Pull up" is a phrase many people — notably Rihanna and her brand Fenty Beauty — have been using throughout the last week to encourage non-Black people to be better allies, and it's likely the inspiration behind the name of the challenge.
"You cannot say Black lives matter publicly if you don't show us Black lives matter within your own homes, and within your organisations."
After the campaign went public, Chuter took to Instagram to further explain the importance behind it. "To at this point still be absolving yourself of the role you have played and continue to play in the marginalization and oppression of Black people shows that a lot of these efforts may just be PR stunts," she said. "You cannot say Black lives matter publicly if you don't show us Black lives matter within your own homes, and within your organisations."
To find out which brands have voiced support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement but haven't come forward with information on their Black employees — and to stay updated on the ones that do — check out @pullupforchange.