The culture of American beauty has long been about adhering to norms of whiteness. But many of the most popular trends originate in the Black community, only finding mainstream acceptance once they’re divorced from their roots.
Through August, Sephora is sponsoring a takeover of New York Magazine’s The Cut to highlight the influence Black culture has on beauty. An anthem spot from R/GA explains the historical appropriation of trends pioneered by Black people—cut creases, baby hairs, laid edges—and tools like curling irons and extensions.
“Only in the past couple of years could you walk into a beauty store and find an in-between shade of foundation or a plethora of products for different hair textures,” writes The Cut Editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner in her welcome letter kicking off the month. “But even so, at fashion shows, countless models have had to deal with doing their own hair and makeup, and brands still take the shortcut of using Black models as the faces of products, but only if they have a perfectly loose curl texture and light skin.”
The exclusively sponsored section will feature coverage of Black-owned beauty brands, including Carol’s Daughter and perfumer Chris Collins. The Cut is also releasing “In Her Shoes,” a four-episode podcast series with guests including Tony-nominated actor Sanaa Lathan (“Love & Basketball,” “A Raisin in the Sun”).
Vox Media will create additional branded content, like shoppable articles featuring Sephora products from Black-owned brands, as well as branded segments that will run on Vox Media podcasts. And a native article covers the evolution of Sephora’s 15 Percent Pledge, which reserves 15% of the retailer’s shelf space for Black-owned businesses.