Written by Paasha Ahmed
Since the release of her Fenty Beauty range, Rihanna has seen a lot of attention shone in her direction regarding women of colour and the beauty industry in a larger sense.
This week, Rihanna took to Twitter to respond to a fan who questioned Fenty’s lack f ‘trans girls’ in their advertising campaigns.
She swiftly responded to the tweet with an important message regarding the exploitation of trans people in fashion marketing campaigns:
“”I’ve had the pleasure of working with many gifted trans women throughout the years, but I don’t go around doing trans castings! Just like I don’t do straight non-transwomen castings! I respect all women, and whether they’re trans or not is none of my business! It’s personal and some trans women are more comfortable being open about it than others so I have to respect that as a woman myself!”
The singer then went on to shed light on the issue of the tokenization of marginalized individuals by the fashion industry. She highlights that the so- called diversity you see in beauty campaigns can be used as a ploy and people are used as a “convenient marketing tool”
“I don’t think it’s fair that a trans woman, or man, be used as a convenient marketing tool! Too often do I see companies doing this to trans and black women alike! There’s always just that one spot in the campaign for the token “we look mad diverse” girl/guy! It’s sad!”
Rihanna was inspired to create Fenty Beauty after years of trying to find beauty products tailored for women of colour in even the most luxe beauty brands. She launched a makeup line “so that women everywhere would be included” focusing on creating formulas that suit the hardest to match skin tones.
It’s fair to say that Rihanna’s approach to beauty in this way has been welcomed by the masses and has seen her range overtake former leaders in the likes of Kylie Jenner.