Note from BBT: It’s been 20 years and it’s the same story. There’s an old saying that says that, the more things change, the more they stay the same and this definitely applies to this topic. When I first start learning about the struggles of black Brazilians back in 2000, I remember reading a 1999 article about Brazil’s rising black middle class. More black Brazilians were ascending socially, buying new cars and homes and enjoying the privileges that a middle class lifestyle brings. But with even with so much apparent progress that realistically was still only extending to a small percentage of black Brazilians, simple things such as finding panty hose and makeup that matched black skin tones was still an issue.
Well, it’s 2020 and even with a noted increase of black representation, college graduates and social ascension compared to the previous decades, makeup for a wide range of black skin tones is still difficult to come by. This month, Avon Brazil conducted the results of a study conducted with a thousand preta e parda (black and brown) Brazilian women to ascertain how much the cosmetics industry met their needs. According to this data, 70%, the majority of them weren’t satisfied with products targeted at the black community and available on the national market.
The result showed that pretas and pardas felt they had no representation in the products of various compnaies in the makeup industry. The dissatisfaction stemmed from poor accessibility and lack of available products that covered the diversity of black skin tones. Another complaint was that the products that are available caused stains on the clothes or changed the appearance of their skin, leaving them with a grayish or orange tone.
The data also revealed that 46% of these women had given up on buying makeup after not finding the right base tones and subtones for their skin. With this lack of accessibility with national products, 82% turned to international products in which they find more interesting and better quality products as well as a wider range products that matched their skin tones.
The survey also found that 77% of black and brown women felt that the service reps of these products simply didn’t have the knowledge to deal with black skin tones in order to help them in their makeup choices.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
With this data, Avon Brasil recently launched a new campaign that is targeting these same women. The new campaign commercial reminds me a bit of a similar campaign I saw right around this time last year from the Salon Line brand of hair products. That ad featured more black Brazilian women in a commercial than I had ever seen in the media up to that point. With Avon Brasil’s endeavor, it will be intriguing to know how black and brown-skinned women receive these products as well as the campaign as it seems that every company wants to get into the diversity/anti-racism game as of late.
Avon launches “This is My Color” and extols anti-racist commitment
Co-created by WT and singer Larissa Luz, new campaign was co-produced by Coletivo Mooc and Damasco
This week Avon launched the campaign “Essa é a Minha Cor”, meaning “This is my color”, created by Wunderman Thompson Brasil and Larissa Luz, who made the song, wrote the campaign manifesto and is one of the stars of the film alongside actress Cris Vianna, makeup specialist Daniele Da Mata, entrepreneur Ana Paula Xongani, stylist/host Magá Moura, Odara, Onika Bibiano, Vilma Caetano and models Geovana Ribeiro, Glória Abreu, Lub Big Queen.
The communication shows the brand’s nine colors and exalts the movement to combat racism proposed by the company. The company is now committed to expanding the representation of the team and offering products with a greater variety of skin tones.
Avon aims to hire 50% of black people in entry positions (internship and trainee) from 2021 and 30% of black women in leadership positions by 2030.
The concept is an offshoot of a study carried out by Avon in order to understand the diversity of shades and subtones of black Brazilian skin.
The creation of the palette was the result of the collaborative work between makeup artist Daniele Da Mata, an expert in black skin, and American scientist Candice Deleo-Novack, head of product development for eyes, face and technical design of Avon products.
The brand’s idea is to bring, in the form of poetry, the strength, power and beauty of black women, characteristics that are amplified when brought together.
Avon has already been involved in projects such as the presence in the bloco afro Ilê Aiyê; the launch, in 2018, of an informative about Afrofuturo; and global studies on the skin tones of women in six countries, including Brazil.
“For us it is a matter of pride for such an important work that is also the launch of new products and is also supported by Avon’s commitment to anti-racism. We were able to count on the creative direction of Larissa Luz and ten other black women who collaborated with the whole concept of this campaign which makes “This is my color” even more relevant for the current moment,” explains Keka Morelle, CCO of Wunderman Thompson Brasil.
The new campaign was co-produced by Coletivo Mooc and Damasco and will be shown on TV, digital, OOH, Outdoor Social and radio.
“To provoke changes is to recognize the point where you are, to leave the comfort zone and take action – and this is the commitment that Avon is assuming, in a process of rich, deep listening, full of truth. Amplifying black female voices that are daily made invisible in a racist country is an effective contribution in favor of a necessary transformation, and participating in this process where not only tones are mixed, but also great talents, is powerful and inspiring,” says Larissa Luz.
Below, you can see the manifesto written by Larissa Luz:
Being a black woman is to be born with a mission: to survive. Because it seems that we are always at risk, if not to die, at least to go crazy. But even with everything, when we are together, we stop being women of war and become women of love.
Being a black woman in Brazil means waking up every day and devising strategies for resistance, resilience, strategies for being happy, strategies for loving.
Planning your destiny believing in the apparent impossible, betting on the invisible, investing in what everyone seems to doubt.
Not having a lot of time to cry, not having a lot of time to have fun, not having a lot of time to celebrate, not having a lot of time because time always seems to be too little to do it.
In the mixture of our tones lies the tone of the hug, and it’s sparkling, it’s consistent.
The ideal tone comes from our unity. And immersing ourselves in this palette, we search to find our place.
To be able to assume our truth, in the raw skin is to access freedom. Proceed with the security and the conviction that the world is ours and we are the revolution.
Pump your chest and willingly say:
I’m preta (black), I’m negra (black), that’s my color!
With her album Território Conquistado (2016), the singer, an exponent of contemporary Bahian music, received the Prêmio Caymmi (Caymmi Award) and was nominated for the Latin Grammy (Best Contemporary Pop Album in Portuguese) and the Prêmio da Música Brasileira (Brazilian Music Award). Through both her voice and her music, Luz has been a leading figure of a new generation of Afro-Brazilian artists that is increasingly demanding fair representation.
Luz’s powerful performance in the award-winning musical Elza won critical acclaim and put Brazilian society on notice that black Brazilian female singers will no longer accept being treated as “the cheapest meat on the market”. During her successful partnership with two other rising black women singers, Luedji Luna and Xênia França, Luz issued a statement affirming that “black music is ours!” in the face of a music industry that seemed comfortable appropriating black cultural elements while ignoring black artists. Her 2017 music video for the song “Bonecas Pretas”, meaning ‘black dolls’, spoke directly to the issue of representation and the necessity of black girls having dolls that looked like them.
The actions announced by Avon include expanding the employability of black people and their presence in leadership positions; accelerating innovation in products that include all the diversity of Brazilian beauty; amplifying the voices of black women through their campaigns; and actively seeking opportunities to position itself as an anti-racist.