These Black Fashion Professionals’ Posts On Racial Injustice Are Required Reading

Racial injustice has run rampant in the United States for centuries. Over the decades, it has taken on different shapes and forms but has never gone away. And the fashion industry has been notoriously silent on race issues over time. But as the industry has taken some steps toward inclusivity, there is still an immense amount of work to be done. With so many voices calling out for justice, it’s long been crucial for everyone to stand in support of the Black community and vocally condemn the racial injustices Black people experience on a daily basis. These Black fashion professional’s posts about supporting Black people, racial injustice, and more are required reading in terms of educating yourself, checking your privilege, and solidifying concrete ways to fight for change for the Black community right now and long after.

Since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020, protests against police brutality and systemic racism have broken out across the globe. People are calling for justice for Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery who were killed because of the color of their skin earlier this year, and so many more lives lost. There’s a lot of information circulating about how to be the best white ally, how to show support beyond donating, how to protest both at home and on the streets, and more. Whether you’re looking for guidance or the words to express how you feel, these Black fashion professionals’ quotes are insightful, powerful messages on exactly what’s going on and how we can all better support and fight for the Black community.

Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue

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let’s talk.

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Danielle Prescod, Style Director for BET

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guys, I made this video to remind you that we have been talking about the racism that we experience FOR YEARS. In 2018 @lpeopleswagner wrote a whole article interviewing over 100 black people in fashion about the daily racism that we see. Nothing changed. THIS YEAR I told you guys that the real real let a white woman host a black history month panel and then went back and forth with me to defend their actions. I showed you that the editorialist produced a whole Mother’s Day tribute and included no one black. And you all likeD and shared it and THANKED THEM for including you. YOU SAW NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. That’s when we needed your “allyship”. What are you going to do in the next few days weeks and months? We are begging not to be killed, yes, as that is the most EXTREME thing that can happen but I have been asking for you all to not be shitty racists for the last 4 years of my life. All is that other stuff, that escalates to killing. And you all ignore it. You don’t help when BOF throws a fucked up party and you say nothing, when you say that someone is only included in something because they are Black, that’s racist. You are not helping when you could be. So great job posting on Instagram. I am personally having some really uncomfortable conversations in my personal life but I am also willing to cut people out of it because I am ok NOW but I haven’t been ok for years when I’ve been trying to navigate working and living in this industry with the way you guys have been behaving. So WHITE WOMEN fix it. Fix yourselves. Realize that your micro aggressions are the problem. Talk to your children. Find them some Black friends. SHOW me you care instead of telling me. I am hoarse from screaming. We have been telling you guys this for years. YEARS. I’m glad you decided to wake up but now get out of bed and do something. And for the love of god stop giving people a follow if they don’t deserve it.

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See Prescod’s full IGTV video here.

Gabby Prescod, Style Lead & Senior Fashion Market Editor for Bustle

See Prescod’s full IGTV video here.

Nana Agyemang, Social Media Editor for New York Magazine and The Cut, Founder of Every Stylish Girl

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Take action. Don’t just donate. Diversify your companies. Incorporate supporting Black owned businesses and creators into your daily life (I’ve tagged some on my highlights). Stop just biting off our culture. Open your purse, not just during this time but regularly donate. Change your leadership positions (some of you follow me and work in leadership roles but you have no Black people on your teams or very little). We are tired of engaging with white people on the topic of race. Use your privilege to make a change. This revolution isn’t just a hashtag or a trend. Nothing will get better if you don’t do better. RG: @mustafathepoet #blacklivesmatter #allyship #diversityandinclusion #justice

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Naomi Elizée, Associate Market Editor for Vogue

Chrissy Rutherford, contributor at Harper’s Bazaar

Nikki Ogunnaike, GQ Deputy Fashion Director

Kenya Hunt, Fashion Director for Grazia UK

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After watching this scroll go through every stage of grief, am putting this here: While a post on social media has its value, please do back it up with a commitment to fighting racism offline on a day to day basis in your companies, families and social circles — ESPECIALLY when the riots end and the news cycle moves on and this scroll shifts back to banana bread and selfies. Donate to bailout and legal funds. Have the uncomfortable conversations. Examine your own behaviour and biases. Stop waiting for and relying on Black people to explain how racism works. Invest in Black businesses. And vote for officials who are actively anti-racist. BRANDS: Broaden your hiring pools and employment practices. Embrace mentoring. Pay Black people fairly and equally. Promote Black people fairly. Call out everyday racism when you see it in your work culture and elsewhere. Commit to the doable decisions that contribute to bigger change, no matter what corner of the world you live in. Black Lives Matter. @mnfreedomfund @colorofchange @blackvisionscollective #blackouttuesday

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Marielle Bobo, Fashion and Beauty Director for Essence

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Being Black in America shouldn't be a death sentence. We're constantly reminded of the precariousness of our lives. And I am tired. Tired of how routine violence against African Americans at the hands of white people continues to persist. My heart hurts. For George, for Ahmaud, for Breonna. For the way too many lives we've lost. For the Black bodies that continue to serve as prey in America's reign of racial terror. No driving while Black. No jogging while Black. No shopping while Black. No breathing while Black. No being me while Black. And all this while the coronavirus stalks Black bodies, killing us disproportionately. It's so wild trying to put these feelings/emotions into words, so thank you to the creatives using their art to make visible the pain that so many of us are struggling to verbalize. #BlackLivesMatter

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Jessica C. Andrews, Deputy Fashion Editor for Bustle

TK Wonder, Rapper

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When America is complicit and does nothing…centuries of doing nothing when unarmed black men and women are murdered by the police then America does not get to choose its consequences. America does not get to decide if those consequences are peaceful or to its liking. Set aside the destruction of property and who are the culprits for a moment. What should be asked is how did America provide the opportunity for those who could care less about the murder of unarmed black people to wreak havoc and burn its cities? America provided the opportunity by doing nothing. Doing nothing when egregious injustice deserves justice. Doing nothing when incessantly confronted with those protesting the murders, attacks and harassment of black people due to the color of their skin. How many more centuries did America expect to turn a blind eye to the murder of unarmed black people without reactions short on patience and peace and void of rage and violence? There are numerous Martin Luther King Jr. quotes floating around especially pertaining to his words: “Riots are the unheard language.” I’ve listened to officials combine those words along with his other quotes on peace and non-violence, eviscerating his quotes, to fit their agenda. (Read previous post for entire quote.) However, what stands out to me the most from MLK’s entire quote regarding riots are these words: “As long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.” Now let’s address the “agitators” as dubbed by the press aka white supremacists wielding their racist tactics and extremists causing chaos as we must be aware this is a reality. However, those who may be protesting these murders with peace as a distant afterthought are not recognized by state officials for their decades of patience and peaceful protests. No state official wants to address how patient black people have been over the years. Centuries of patiently and peacefully protesting. Centuries of patiently waiting for justice. I do not want violence. However, America you have no one but yourself to blame. ••• 📷: John Minchillo

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Salem Mitchell, Model

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the instagram is not real life argument is totally invalid. 90% of the reason racists and police officers are even held SLIGHTLY accountable is due to social media, it’s the viral videos, the hashtags, and the public outrage that forces some sort of response. the stuff that’s happening has been happening forever and the only reason we’re seeing some sort of small change is because of social media. #blacklivesmatter #georgefloyd 🤎 for clarification on the third slide since some are confused: my point is not that you can’t form your own opinions my message is that if the targeted community is letting you know how they FEEL in regards to support from other communities you should look inside yourself as an ally and figure out how you can help or at LEAST give them space instead of debating them. you don’t have to agree but it’s hurtful to counter what we’re feeling and it’s a waste of our time argue with you when we need to be fighting for our rights. you can form your own opinions at all times but if you see what’s going on right now in this country and you make it a priority to argue with black feelings while you’ve remained silent on your platform that is the privilege and the problem ❤️ if you’re an ally who is doing something and standing with us then please keep scrolling because this shoe doesn’t fit you.

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Elaine Welteroth, former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue

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It’s been hard to be on the Internet lately. But last night my brother asked me to say something about the death of #GeorgeFloyd—when I find the words—because he thinks people will listen to me and respect what I have to say. Well, I still don’t have the words. And if I’m honest, I’m tired of searching for them every time we have to watch another Black body slain in plain sight. But because my brother asked me to, I’m going to write what’s on my heart—this time without editing, without perfecting, without worrying about whether or not this will make you care enough to do something. Because if you’ve seen the video of a man gasping for air, begging for his life, being suffocated for six whole minutes by a police officer and you have done nothing about it, then my words don’t matter to you anyway. . I love my brother. And my uncles. And my husband. And there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to keep them alive. Yours too. And because I can’t think of a single Black man in my life who has not been threatened at the hands of police, this is more than a news story—this personal. It’s personal every single time. . But I’m tired of crying as I cobble together resources, tired of putting my work aside to edit, sharpen, hone, and rewrite another caption to make sure you feel this like I feel this. I’m tired of my words feeling futile as I watch my non-Black friends post about everything but these crimes against our humanity. . What Black people in this country need more than me or any other grieving Black person who is expected to broadcast our pain and speak out again and again on this same issue is for our WHITE FRIENDS to SPEAK UP and TAKE ACTION. . My friend @lupitanyongo called for the only kind of Internet challenge I care to see right now; it’s called the #WhiteAlliesChallenge. It goes like this: If you love me, if you love our culture, our music, our TikTok dances, our movies, our style, our bodies, then it’s time for you to find a way to FIGHT with us when we are under siege. Stop waiting for us to say something you can RT, and start digging into your own soul. Find a way to put yourself (& your TL) on the line. With us. For us. NOW is the time.

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Tamu McPherson, Founder of All the Pretty Birds

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An excerpt from my June editorial note published on @alltheprettybirdsofficial today. Link in Bio. Love and always love. ________________________________________________ Some Important Questions to Ask Yourself, If You Are Committed to Becoming Anti-Racist Dear Non-Brown Friends, Regardless of whether or not you want to admit it to yourself, you are living, thriving and “owning” because of your white privilege, a benefit resting on the pillars of white supremacy. It is a structure that requires no additional thought on your part – in fact, the less you think, the fewer questions you ask, the better. The architects and champions (Donald Trump) work to keep structural racism intact in perpetuity for their own benefit. Your complacency is an easily won and reliable key element to their success. But, wake up and step out from your self-induced moral and spiritual coma for a moment. Ask yourself, are you also a pawn in their game? Your complacency may be benign in contrast to the atrocious violence of card-carrying white supremacists, but are you truly okay with propping up a system that consistently fails black men and women like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, only a few names in an ever-growing sea of loss and pain? Question yourself and have the decency to admit who you really are. It will be hard, and your ego will intervene because, in the end, no one wants to be considered a bad person. But I am asking you to save us all from the continued hypocrisy. If you are a racist, HAVE THE FUCKING COURAGE TO ADMIT WHO YOU REALLY ARE. On the moral upside, whether you are in the US, Europe, or any place on the globe where brown and indigenous people suffer inequality, if in your core you are anti-racist, you need to show up and be ready to tear down the walls. It’s going to be scary, uncomfortable, radical, unprecedented, and it will take courage; just like this little girl speaking in the front of a room of strangers and adults. But, if you truly care about humanity you will fight hard. Ally, it’s time to reconnect, re-educate, re-condition, and reset in the name of equality for all.

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Aurora James, Founder of Brother Vellies

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@wholefoods @target @shopmedmen @walmart @saks @sephora @netaporter @barnesandnoble @homedepot I am asking you to commit to buying 15% of your products from Black owned businesses. . So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds. This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space. . Whole Foods if you were to sign on to this pledge, it could immediately drive much needed support to Black farmers. Banks will be forced to take them seriously because they will be walking in with major purchase orders from Whole Foods. Investors for the very first time will start actively seeking them out. Small businesses can turn into bigger ones. Real investment will start happening in Black businesses which will subsequently be paid forward into our Black communities. . Dont get me wrong, I understand the complexities of this request. I am a business Woman. I have sold millions of dollars of product over the years at a business I started with $3500 at a flea market. So I am telling you we can get this figured out. This is an opportunity. It is your opportunity to get in the right side of this. . So for all of the ‘what can we do to help?’ questions out there, this is my personal answer. #15PercentPledge . I will get texts that this is crazy. I will get phone calls that this is too direct, too big of an ask, too this, too that. But I don’t think it’s too anything, in fact I think it’s just a start. You want to be an ally? This is what I’m asking for.

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