Black women are consistently erased from beauty, style and culture discussions so now I’ve created a space for us.
Growing up, I was never consciously aware of what I was doing which was looking to see myself represented in mainstream media. Representation was the reason why I spent hours watching MTV Base. It was the same reason why I was obsessed with Kimora’s Life in the Fab Lane and Baby Phat and it’s the same reason why I watched endless hours of America’s Next Top Model.
Coming away from these influences I wanted to be something like a video-model-mogul-entrepreneur-fabulous-woman (in progress) but who knows what I could have wanted to have been if I saw myself represented in other fields? In tech, in science, politics etc, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Representation is important.
Being a child with Nigerian and Jamaican heritage meant that the duality of my ethnic makeup was added to the melting pot that is London. In addition to this, going from a predominantly black school, to a predominantly white school (aka major culture shock) meant the media was my next port of call due to not being able to relate to my surroundings.
Yet the media has consistently shunned the existence of black women. I remember when I first got to America, I was amazed by all the foundation shades that Superdrug and Boots had never even considered stocking. I remember getting incredibly excited and buying magazines because there was a black woman on the cover.
Now brands like L’Oréal have had a rude awakening and have decided to broaden their shade range. While brands like Shea Moisture disrespect and erase the black audience they primarily catered to in favour of including fairer skin and softer hair textures in their campaigns.
Black women, in particular, spend an estimated $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, shelling out 80% more on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care as their non-Black counterparts.I found that the fact that seeing a black woman on the cover of a mag compelled me to make a purchase because this was a rare feat. But why? Taylor Bryant
Statistics show that black women spend more on beauty than white women; our culture of flamboyance, vibrancy and expensive imported fabrics puts us in a position to spend more, yet we still don’t have a space. As our attention and financial power continues to turn away from old media, RONIEBOND fills the gap with enriching, empowering content.
Today, beauty mags talk about acne solutions without considering melanin and black people’s oil glands and Vitamin D deficiencies or dietary differences due to our culture and background. Magazines also talk about what you should buy without considering the financial and social restraints of these purchases, immediately alienating millennial black and brown women.
Fashion magazines consistently celebrate high-end cultural appropriation, accrediting fad models with creating hairstyles that have been central to the black female identity for centuries. This is not right and yet some people still don’t get cultural appropriation.
Recent efforts by the likes of supermodel coalition Naomi Campbell, Iman and Bethan Hardison have forced the topic of diversity to the mainstream and yes it’s trending. I see several black and brown skinned people fronting campaigns, I see black films finally being duly accredited, I see black models on fashion sites but I feel that in some respects this is a trend.
I feel like until there are more black people front and centre of these strides towards inclusivity, these efforts will be in vain.
The internet has empowered us to form alliances and represent ourselves and amplify our voices. Brands like Matte and individuals like theSlumFlower and Sophia Tassew who have the experience, the authority and the authenticity to communicate effectively to black women are the thought leaders of our billion pound industry, the industry and community that RONIEBOND caters to.
Existing in white spaces can be alienating, and the creation of our site was a response to this. Having young women of colour from all over the globe reach out to us and express how much our work resonates with them is an incredible feeling. The expressions of black, intersectional feminism and womanism are integral parts of our self-care and we will not wait for the next wave of mainstream feminism to acknowledge our existence. We are here and have always been. Our experiences are just as important as any other. Liv Little
Black women are beautiful, that is what RONIEBOND.COM is about.