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Spotlight

It's Up to Us

Let me be clear: I believe in equality and freedom. Like most Americans, I have been glued to the TV and horrified by recent events. George Floyd’s senseless murder by a white police officer has brought police brutality and institutional racism to the forefront of our national consciousness. Black people have been brutalized, discriminated against, and have suffered untold injustices throughout America’s history. I think a first step is educating ourselves about what is going on. I found helpful articles here and here.

I am horrified by what happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner (and countless others), and I am horrified and ashamed about America’s current and past treatment of POC. But I have been paralyzed about what to do. I thought I had no business inserting myself into this important dialogue- why would anyone care what a beauty blogger has to say about it? I don’t make a habit of recycling other people’s content, and reposting someone else’s flowery graphic on this tragedy just felt hollow. I kept struggling with what to say. I couldn’t figure out what I could or should be adding to the conversation about race. I just couldn’t figure out how I could personally make a difference in a meaningful way. And I was afraid I would accidentally say the wrong thing and offend people. But now I realize that the best thing I can do is to use my platform to raise awareness for important issues, one of which is the prejudice and racial divide that is tearing this country apart and has been for years.

But everyone has the ability to be an agent for positive change, starting with your own little sphere of influence- your family. I have a lot to work on here, and I am thankful for this dialogue in the sense that it has made me realize where I need to step up my game in terms of raising my children to be actively anti-racist. I would describe my parents as not racist, and I was raised as such. But we didn’t really discuss race- I felt like the right answer was to act as if I didn’t even see that a friend or classmate has a different color skin. And one would NEVER comment on anything surrounding race. Like, am I even supposed to say Black? The whole subject just seemed fraught with tension, missteps unavoidable. But neglecting a difficult topic is not a solution, and it won’t help effect positive change for our next generation of Americans. With our children, in an age-appropriate way we have discussed police brutality, ongoing racism, and the fact that people are treated unfairly because of the color of their skin. I am certainly not an expert on the right way to have this conversation and I would suggest you check out other resources (like here and here).

Other ways to make a difference in the fight against racism? You can donate to one or more causes, like the memorial fund George Floyd’s family has set up. (There is also an address where you can send condolences or contributions). You could also support organizations working on the ground in Minneapolis, like North Star Health Collective, which provides health care services and resources to protestors. Another idea is contributing to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or the ACLU. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I urge you to find a better resource than this beauty blog and to donate to a cause that speaks to you. Inspired by several other bloggers, I am donating this week’s affiliate commissions to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

There is an important economic piece to the racial disparity in the United States, and one small, easy thing we can all do is to support Black-owned businesses. I plan to do a whole post about my favorite Black-owned beauty and fashion brands to support that effort. I wanted to include my favorites here today, but it deserves a longer, more in-depth post and my delay commenting on recent tragedies is already being misconstrued as unsympathetic, detached, and way worse. As a starting point, some of my favorite brands are Fenty Beauty (Rihanna leading the way on an inclusive range of foundation shades! And that was just the beginning of her fabulous makeup line) and Pat McGrath Labs (I’ve been following backstage makeup artist Pat McGrath since I was a girl reading Vogue Magazine in middle-of-nowhere Texas. Her lip gloss in Peach Perversion is one of my faves). For fashion check out Lemlem, founded by supermodel Liya Kebede. Lemlem has beautiful caftans and cover-ups for summer. If you are in Houston and want to shop local, Saint Bernard in River Oaks District carries Lemlem. I also love the brand Cushnie, particularly their chic jumpsuits.

Thank you for reading and for following along. I want KJB to be a place where we can support each other with love and positivity, and I ask that during this stressful time please can we all give each other a little bit of grace.

xoxo,

@kathleenjenningsbeauty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Responses to “It’s Up to Us”

  1. Christelle says:

    Thank you for saying so eloquently what I, too, have been struggling to say.

  2. Kim says:

    I am glad you something. I mainly follow you on Insta and I was starting to worry. This piece was mainly written for the NY Central Park bird watching incident but as a white woman who has felt paralyzed in terms of what I can/should not do, I found it a good place to start. https://www.katykatikate.com/the-blog/2020/5/26/5-racist-anti-racism-responses-good-white-women-give-to-viral-posts?fbclid=IwAR0A53VcQazxHCgQtF_3Vof-R5ldapRlvvfrcaVrhN7JSXusIiytWPzDrHM

    Thanks again, I hope you put a message along these lines on all of your platforms!

  3. Ryann says:

    Love this so much <3 Thanks for sharing. xo

  4. Alison says:

    You handled this beautifully! I’m sorry you were being attacked on Instagram. That’s not ok at all. I appreciate how you made this relevant for your audience and what we’re here for. Appreciate you so much!

  5. Evie says:

    Really glad to see you speaking up 💕 Supporting black owned businesses is a great goal. In addition to large brands that are already successful and well known, I encourage you to seek out black owned small businesses, in your city and accesible online. Perhaps you can also seek out and highlight black influencers and content creators in the beauty/fashion space – they are woefully underrecognized. If you dont follow many (I realized I didn’t), diversifying your IG feed is a great place to start. We all have so much to learn and unlearn as we confront our privilege and learn to be better allies.

  6. Paisley Puryear says:

    Well said. Great post! Xx

  7. Emily says:

    I’ve been writing down my thoughts over the weekend trying to make sense of all this. I also didn’t want to stay quiet but I too didn’t want to just repost a photo or quote etc. (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just wasn’t sure if they encompassed all of what I was thinking). I thought so many of the same things you have said here, even the part about can I even say the word black. I’m glad you posted this, and the black owned post is such a great idea. Thank you.

  8. AM says:

    From a person of color, thank you. You did good.

  9. June says:

    You say you want to make a ~difference~ but not sure what that is after reading this post?? Have you donated? Have you read any literature? It’s just lip service. And it’s a little late, too. Get your head out of your bathroom mirror and be the change you say you want to be. Peace.

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