Now that 2020 is behind us, are those brands fulfilling their promises? We spoke with industry insiders and four Black influencers from the beauty and fashion spheres to check on how corporations are doing, and what steps are being taken to support a more equitable environment.

“I would say it’s like 50/50,” Dorsey told HuffPost. “For diversification, some brands have hired more Black models, which to the public, we have more Black models and that’s cute. But we don’t know what’s happening on the back end.”

McCotry, who has worked with influencers in the beauty PR space, said that whenever she recommended African American influencers to brands, those brands would “push back” on their rates — something that never happened when she suggested white people.

Summer 2020 changed everything. George Floyd’s murder happened the day after my birthday, and by Juneteenth, we launched the podcast “Beauty Needs Me.” All the corporations are taking all the challenges and hiring a diversity officer. I think it’s high time, but there is a financial aspect that’s still missing. For the podcast, we’ve got a lot of press, but no one is sponsoring an episode.

Yes, [because for beauty] it’s more about skin tone. A brand would love to show how beautiful their product shows up on your skin tone. Or when a brand is trying to show the efficiency of a hair product, they choose a lighter-skinned influencer with a looser curl. When a brand is trying to show that their sunscreen doesn’t look chalky on Black skin, they go with a darker-skinned model.

I reached out to a brand [and said], “I would really like for you guys to find some type of budget to pay Black influencers in the beauty space ― people that you normally don’t hire ― and I want you to pay them like you pay white influencers, and myself included.” The brand said, “You’re right.”

You have to be willing to walk away from that money [when you think it’s too low], which is hard. The sum of $5K is a lot of money, but you find out someone is getting $30K for the same work. Try not to take any and everything coming your way, and make sure you’re getting paid what you should be getting paid. The way to find that out is to talk to people.

Absolutely. I started noticing a change when that person was in the White House the last four years. I think I realized my following was very Caucasian when I was advocating for Hillary Clinton. I started noticing large dips at certain points in time. I know Instagram gets rid of bots, but I noticed when I talked about certain things ― for example, I lost a lot of followers during BLM. There was like a 8K-person dip.

I have. I haven’t had many large businesses looking to partner. I’ve been more in tune with the small businesses and Black businesses. I’m still small myself. I can only imagine what it’s like to launch a business in a pandemic.

Last year was such an emotional time for everyone. I closed one door when I stopped working in corporate fashion and went full-blown entrepreneur. I still woke up every day at 6 and I still sat at my desk. I took breaks. The grind and hustle was different because you’re all you got.

I have. I think a lot of people have found themselves checking their phones, and during BLM we started getting hashtags and Instagram widgets. Folks are showing appreciation for Black business, sharing stories and posts, connecting with other partners. With the “shop Black business” widgets, you’re in a different world. And when you use them, it’s like an Explore page for Black business.

No, I’ve never felt someone was doing something because of my race. I haven’t had that feeling yet, but trust me, I would know. I have never been made to feel that way, and I hope no one ever does. I’m a woman first who happens to be Black. When we value everyone equally, that is the best way to go forward.

Being chosen to be the only Canadian selected for the Nobo was huge. There is an influencer I spoke to, her name is Opal. When my collaboration [with the Nobo] was in negotiation, I reached out to Opal. She said, “This is how you’re going to do it, and this is what you ask for.” They paid what I asked for.

This content was originally published here.

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