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Some People Are Calling Out Makeup Companies For Crossing The Line Of Cheeky Names To Racial Tropes

We’ve never worked in the cosmetic industry, so we can only assume that finding the perfect name for a product can be tricky to say the least. There are products with hilarious, and even NSFW names —NARS we’re talking to you. Apparently, the more scandalous the product is named, the better. Even some of the most trendy cosmetics have cheeky names, so it seems like in the world of beauty, anything goes. From cheeky, to ridiculous to just down-right offensive, here are some names that left us wondering; who approved these?

1. Chantecaille Foundation in the shade; ’Banana’.

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As opposed to the cute names appointed to lighter shades, such as “Aura” and “Vanilla;” the darker shade was named “Banana”. Now, maybe it’s just me, but giving a darker skin tone the name ‘banana’ sounds like a good enough reference to the monkey comparison. Comparing dark-skinned people to monkeys is a racial stance as old as America and we’d love to find out what the Chantecaille team was thinking when they gave that name to a dark skin tone —smdh.

2. Color Pop Cosmetics’ “Yikes” and “Typo” sculpting stix. 

www.colorpop.com

In the same way, as we noted in the previous example, here the lighter skin tones had names like “Castle” and “Dove,” whereas the darker ones were titled “Typo” and “Yikes.” Yikes, is there anything shocking or alarming about a darker skin tone? Nobody’s skin is a typo, Color Pop.

ColourPop issued an apology statement and quickly renamed the deeper shades. The Sculpting Stix as a whole has since been discontinued.

2. MAC Cosmetics’ “Vibe Tribe” Collection.

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I mean… do we have to keep saying this? Indigenous cultures are not fashion —or in this case beauty— trends. This 2016 collection was instantly accused of cultural appropriation and enforcing Native American stereotypes. The packaging of the collection featured ‘tribal’ patterns and the shades had names such as “Arrowhead” and “Call of the Canyon.” What’s worse, the campaign featured models wearing Native American headdresses —which we’ve established time and again, is disrespectful AF.

3. MAC Cosmetics x Rodarte “Juarez” polish.

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Ciudad Juarez is a city known for the phenomenon of female homicides, called feminicidio in Spanish. The city has been—famously, may I add—plagued by the violent deaths of hundreds of women and girls since 1993. MAC and fashion house Rodarte collaborated in a highly anticipated collection inspired by Mexico in 2010. One of the nail polishes in the collection was named ‘Juarez’, which disturbed customers and social media users. 

MAC apologized but kept the product on its shelves —guess they weren’t that sorry. The makeup brand did, however, “give a portion of the proceeds from the MAC Rodarte collection to help those in need in Juarez.”

4. The Balm’s “Meet Matt” eye shadow palette.

www.thebalm.com

Every shade in this eye shadow palette, which is still available under the site’s bestseller section, was named for a different “Matt,” and many found it’s choice of last names questionable. 

The brand paired the last names Lin, Lopez, Kumar, and Ahmed to yellow, brown, brick red, and black shades, which a lot of customers —ourselves included— found racist. 

5. Ben Nye’s Cream Character Base.

Back in 2015, Ben Nye, the special FX and stage makeup brand, sold a deep complexion base cream called “Minstrel Brown”. FYI —and get ready to have your mind blown— Minstrels were theatric shows performed by white actors in blackface during the 19th century. The shows were specifically intended to mock and degrade black people. 

Ben Nye renamed the shade —and every shade in the collection— but the brand never apologized or commented on the incredibly inappropriate name. 

6. “Iris I Was Thinner” OPI nail polish

www.makeupalley.com

Because women need to be reminded of the toxic beauty ideal that we ‘should strive to be thin’. This nail polish is a no from me, dog. 

7. “Miso Happy With This Color” OPI nail polish.

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We’ll admit that some of OPI’s nail polish color names make us giggle. But not when they’re making puns that suggest a stereotype of how Asians speak. According to portrayals in pop culture, an Asian face must mean an Asian accent — and often, the accent is for comedic effect in movies and television shows.

8. Fenty’s “Geisha Chic” highlighter

Instagram @trendmood1

Ok, we love queen RiRi but more often than not, Asian targeted racism gets glossed over and we’re not here for this name. A Geisha or ‘Geiko’ is a Japanese woman who entertains guests through talents such as dance, music, and singing —the tradition can be traced back centuries, and it’s not fair to minimize it. 

Fenty team members personally messaged the people that left comments about the product on Instagram and quickly pulled the highlighter from their online store. “We wanted to personally apologize. Thank you so much for educating us,” read their apology.

9. Wycon’s “Black As A N***a”

www.wyconcosmetics.com

At this point, I feel like brands are using racial insensitivity as a marketing ploy. Because in what world does it seem right to give a product —or anything else for the matter- this name? A quick scroll through the Italian beauty brand will leave you pressed to find any representation of people of color —but of course hip-hop culture is up for grabs when it comes to the naming of product shades for the brand, which also uses names like “Drop it Like It’s Hot” and “Bootylicious.” #cancelled

10. Kat Von D’s “Selektion” lipstick shade

twitter @thekatvond

Kat Von D has been accused of anti-semitism time and again, and I guess we’ll never know if it’s a real claim or if it’s just a product of Twitter users’ machinations. But one thing is true, her eponymous makeup line launched a lipstick shade with the name “Selektion,” which in German simply means “screening,” or “picking.” However, the use of the German word in English speek has become taboo due to the use it had by Nazis in the selection of prisoners for death in concentration camps. 

Whether the name was a deliberately insensitive pick or just an honest mistake, we would’ve erred on the side of caution and steered clear of a polemic word. 

In A World Where Everything Is Catered To White People, Selena Quintanilla Has Long Been The Splash Of Color My Latina Soul Needed

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In A World Where Everything Is Catered To White People, Selena Quintanilla Has Long Been The Splash Of Color My Latina Soul Needed

selenaspizzas/ Instagram

Long before shops the likes of Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 began to bank on her image to sell $54 shirts to non-Latinx hipsters, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was an icon and legend for young Latinas living across the globe. Ask a Latina and no doubt she has some sort of connection the Tejano singer whether its coordinating sons to “Baila Esta Cumbia” with her primas or playing her VHS biopic on repeat until the tape ran thin. The queen of Latinx music will always be an influential personality in Latino culture in the United States. Her music and the tragic circumstances of her death made her a pop culture phenomenon that escaped the niche Hispanic market. After her death, Hollywood studios furiously vied for the rights to adapt her incredible rags-to-riches story to the big screen. Selena is a fundamental Latino icon even 23 years after her death in 1995, at the tender age of 23.

Next time someone asks you at a party why you tear up listening to the late great Selena, be sure to serve them with these facts:

1. She brought Tejano music to mainstream America and proved women are capable of anything.

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She is amazing 😍 #selenaquintanilla#90s#fashion

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Before Selena Mexican-American music was considered an eccentricity and was definitely not played in non-Hispanic clubs and radio stations.  Speaking about the experience of being a Latinx signer, Selena once said “Tejano music was hard for us because I was a girl. My dad had a lot of problems while trying to set up shows for us or presentations because there are a lot of men who don’t think that women can get the attention of the public. But . . . wrong!” No doubt the Texas-born singer changed these harsh attitude during her life and after her untimely death.

2. She valued family

Selena might have gained worldwide notoriety in her own right, but long before she was just Selena she had a career as part of the Quintanilla family group Selena y Los Dinos, where her two older siblings also made pompas shake. Like the rest of us, familia was always important to Selena and she never forgot her origins and the role that her family had in her success. Speaking about the struggles she was grateful for enduring with her family, Selena said “We went through a hard time, and we had to turn to music as a means to putting food on the table. And we’ve been doing it ever since. No regrets either.”

3. She was proud of her heritage

Singing in Spanish when you’re not fluent can be a pretty challenging act in itself if you want to break into the mainstream, and Selena was unapologetic about her efforts to do so. “I feel very proud to be Mexican,” Selena once said in an interview about her culture. “I didn’t have the opportunity to learn Spanish when I was a girl, but . . . it’s never too late to get in touch with your roots.” Many singers and actors of Latino origin change their names for a more English-sounding or a more neutral one. But not our Selena. She didn’t look for a fancy name and good on her: Selena is such a powerful, defining name that shines on any billboard.

4. She knew that not all women are straight-sized and many have curves

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say, but it has long been dictated by mass media which has, in so many cases, severely distorted our perceptions of women’s bodies. Selena was proud of her curves. Eso mija, eres una fregona.  “I’m very real, very sincere, and honest, and that’s how I’ll always be,” the star once said in an interview. 

5. She had a unique style

Amidst the customary images and selling points of whitewashed media and the current political turmoils of today, it can be hard for a Latina to feel confident in her identity. Selena did so with aplomb. Her wardrobe choices were interesting and daring in equal measure, which is probably one of the reasons behind her success as a pop culture brand.  She was criticized by more conservative audiences for “revealing too much”. We say al carajo con sus juicios.  Still, the Tejano singer stayed strong her opinions about her self, saying once, “Always believe that the impossible is always possible.”

6. Because she showed that Latinas can be captains of their fate as well as the fiercest activists.

“What I don’t like are arrogant people. We’re all equal. I don’t like it when a person assumes to be better,” Quintanilla once stated in an interview.  Her posthumous campaign with cosmetics giant MAC demonstrated that Latino women in particular and women of color, in general, could and should carry campaigns. She was beautiful and the world needed to see that.

7. She was active in her community “All I need to do is try and do the best that I can do”

As a minority, solidarity is key for the Latino community in the United States, particularly today. Selena embodied community values and never forgot her fellow Mexican-Americans. Certainly an example we should all follow. She grew up in Texas, where migratory patterns and backwards thinking about race make various segments of the Hispanic population feel vulnerable. Power to the people!

8. She urged children to stay en la escuela (don’t drop out, escuincles!)

“Music is not a very stable business. You know it comes and it goes, and so does money. But your education stays with you for the rest of your life.” Selena knew how important education is for minorities in the United States, and that hard work and academic development are the only way for the community to strive. She constantly visited schools and urged young chamacos not to drop out. Respect.

9. Because she was an independent self-made woman “If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it away”

She was young but life taught her that all you have is yourself. We can’t believe she was just 23 when she died. Truly wise beyond her years.

Read: Mariah Carey Got Real About Being Biracial And Her Words Will Undoubtedly Have Afro-Latinas Feeling So Seen

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Puerto Rican Model With Down Syndrome Stuns At New York Fashion Week

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Puerto Rican Model With Down Syndrome Stuns At New York Fashion Week

sofiajirau / Instagram

The world of fashion is notoriously a parade of homogeneity. While certain brands make valiant attempts to diversify the faces and designs that represent their lines, it’s true that there is a world of progress to be made. Which leads us to our praise and worship for Sofía Jirau.

Sofia Jirau is a 22-year-old Puerto Rican model with Down Syndrome.

She is, to say the least, a true jefa whose recent appearance on the runway at a New York Fashion Week show is undoubtedly a game-changer. While walking the runway this past week, the model lived out her dream of not only modeling in New York but also shaking up its fashion scene.

“When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and a businesswoman,’” Jirau told People in a recent interview.

And just look at her now.

Jirau got her start back in 2019 when she signed with INprende, an agency that works to represent models and faces like Sofia. Since making her deal, Jirau has gone on to model for designers like Kelvin Giovannie and Marisa Santiago. 
“I was born for this and I want to show the world that I have everything a model needs to shine,” Jirau wrote in a post about her NYFW debut on Instagram.

Here’s to hoping for more of this!