At a time where the conversation around race is stronger than ever following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota, the Black Lives Matter cause now has consumers holding companies accountable for showing and proving how they are contributing to the movement. This is a time where being silent is not beneficial, this is a time when every voice is needed for speaking out against the injustices that many black people are facing on a regular basis.
Here are 5 companies that got it right when speaking out in support of Black Lives Matter.
Netflix gave a statement showing their support for their black employees, as well as the black talent and black creators that they work with. They made an effort to put across how being silent on the situation, is being complicit to the situation in terms of racial injustices towards black people.
Glossier not only showed that they stood in solidarity with the black community when it came to fighting systematic racism, but they were willing to contribute financially to the cause and donated $500,000 to black organisations who were focusing on fighting racial injustice in various different forms.
3. Ben And Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s showed their support of the Black Lives Matter movement through a post on their social media platform, as well as on their website. Their powerful words showed their care for the situation and the cause.
In Ben & Jerry’s situation, their founders took it one step further by actually being involved in the protests in America. The coverage of the founders getting arrested went viral on social media and masses of people online came together to show their support of the company and expressed how they as consumers would continue to give the company their money.
One tweet in particular showing support to Ben & Jerry’s received over 100,000 retweets and 300,000 likes.
4. Nike / Adidas
Both Nike and Adidas used their platform to advocate for change in society in the face of injustices. They delivered a powerful sign of solidarity and as two of the biggest brands in the world, urged us all to not be silent, to speak out on important issues and to show unity during this time, not division.
5. Fenty Beauty
Fenty Beauty showed that they were adamant about support the cause. As a company they did not conduct any business on June 2nd in protest and as well as donating financially to several black organisations, they used their platform to speak out against injustice in not just their words, but in their actions also in amplifying other voices online who were speaking out against racism and inequality against black people.
Despite companies using their platforms to speak out, many were not received well by the public for various different factors.
Here are 5 companies that got it wrong with their efforts at speaking out.
The NFL put out a statement expressing their sadness over the situation facing the death of George Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor, a black women who was killed by police after they stormed into her home in hunt for suspect already in custody and also Ahmaud Arbery, a 25 year old black man who was killed while jogging in South Georgia. Their statement mentioned how there urgent actions that need to be taken when it comes to tackling systematic racism.
This statement was not well received once people brought to light of the NFL’s unfair treatment of Colin Kaepernick who took a stand against racism and the unfair treatment of black people and was frozen out of the league by many of the owners. The NFL’s statement now showing support of the same issues that Colin Kaepernick was punished for, was branded hypocritical by most.
2. Pretty Little Thing
Pretty Little Thing’s post of a graphic showing a white and a black hand with the words ‘stand together’ received much backlash on social media, with many branding the post as distasteful and with a lack of care and understanding of the situation when it came to black people and the issue of police brutality and racism.
The backlash they received caused them to remove the post and upload a new post which was more in line with the current climate.
L’Oreal posted a statement mentioning the importance of speaking out against injustice, however this statement was brought into question when considering how three years ago, L’Oréal parted ways with their first transgender ambassador Munroe Bergdorf after she spoke out about the racism surrounding Charlottesville’s 2017 Unite the Right rally, which left three dead and more injured.
Amazon posted their statement stating how they support black people and how they are against all forms of systematic racism and injustice. In Amazon’s case, a clear discrepancy was brought up with the company policies and the treatment of their own workers. Despite their statement supporting the black community, the statistics show that eight five per cent of their black workforce hold unskilled jobs, which includes warehouse workers, and the company has only one black senior-level employee.
5. Virgil Abloh / Off-White
Louis Vuitton and Off White designer Virgil Abloh, posted a $50 donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund and received backlash in the process when looked at the disparity between his donation and the high costs of many of the products that he has designed, which many have deemed overpriced ($76 for a pair of socks as an example).
Many deemed his contribution as insensitive to the cause and performative, especially as many of his peers had showed greater intentions in their actions and in their financial contirbutions. Kanye West for example set up a fund to cover the cost of university for George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna and donated £1.5 million ($2m) to other black organisations, including paying the legal fees of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
Looking at the situation as a whole, it’s clear that the fight for racial equality goes beyond social media posts. People are looking beyond the graphics being posted online by companies and are looking at the brands themselves and what they are doing on a day to day basis to actively support the black community. The backlash which several of the companies are receiving based on their efforts, are highlighting the lack of care and support when it comes to black issues.
Consumers simply want more now from corporate entities when it comes to speaking out and they have made it clear that they will not accept the bare minimum, which many are doing. But looking at the companies which are speaking out and acting on it, we can see that positive strides are being made.
Written by Tonte Bo Douglas (@TalkWithTonte)