Throughout 2020, we watched the Black Lives Matter movement send waves across the beauty industry. In fact, what started as empty “solidarity” from brands on social media turned into a complete redefining of allyship. And Sharon held the secret to the change: accountability.
Throughout her career, Sharon watched brands talk the talk without backing up their “values.” And after working in corporate operations for brands like Revlon, L’Oréal and Benefit Cosmetics, she was repeatedly let down by the industry’s non-inclusive norms of the industry.
Now, a similar trend was showing up. While many brands showed their “support” via a tiny black square on Instagram, that wasn’t enough for Chuter. She wasn’t going to let this one slide under the rug.
Enough Talk –– #PullUpOrShutUp
To keep brands true to their word, Chuter created #PullUpOrShutUp. This initiative served as an explicit callout of brands who claimed to support inclusion but did little to prove it behind the scenes. On June 3, @pullupforchange posted:
“Dear Brands – Thank you for the public statements of support for the black community. Whereas we understand and appreciate the support, be conscious that to piggyback off a trending hashtag when you have been and continue to be a part of the problem is once again appropriating and exploiting the black community.”
“So we ask all brands who have released a statement of support, to publicly release within the next 72hrs the number of black employees they have in their organisations at corporate level. We also need to know the number of black people you have in leadership roles. You all have statements and policies about being equal opportunity employers, so show us the proof! PULL UP or SHUT UP!”
From pressuring brands to break their silence to posting diversity numbers across industries, this project has gone viral online. Still, Chuter is doing more than serving tea. She’s showing leaders how it’s done with her increasingly popular company, Uoma Beauty.
50+ Shades of Change
Uoma Beauty believes that “the world is beautiful because we are all different and colorful in our own way.” Plus, with inclusion at the forefront, this brand actually beats Fenty Beauty at its own shade range game.
The Say What?! Foundation includes 51 unique shades, each from one of six Skin Kins, or skin color families. Rather than creating one formula to span multiple skin types, each Skin Kin coincides with common concerns for each skin tone.
For example, “Fair Lady” uses aglianico grape extract to reduce signs of aging and dryness, while “Black Pearl” features tomato extract to brighten and protect from free radicals. All create buildable coverage and a “vibrant-matte” finish that has influencers like Jackie Aina and Patrick Starr raving.
This product is simply a symbol of the brand’s dedication to a true appreciation for different identities. The leadership team itself is 50% Black, 75% POC and 75% Female, and with products that are high-performing, creativity-inducing and undoubtedly inclusive, Uoma Beauty cannot be stopped.
As for Sharon Chuter, this woman is a force to be reckoned with. An icon of the modern beauty industry, it’s no surprise that her passion for change has overflowed into the rest of the world. Other brands should take note and follow suit, because this woman isn’t just a CEO –– she’s a cultural pioneer.