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Sharon Chuter and Pull Up for Change Launch Make It Black Campaign — Interview

In the wake of 2020’s nationwide Black Lives Matter uprising, our social media feeds flourished with the hashtag #PullUpOrShutUp. The movement and Pull Up For Change organization, created by Uoma Beauty founder Sharon Chuter, encouraged beauty companies to reveal just how many Black employees and employees of color they have (especially in leadership positions). Now, Chuter and Pull Up for Change are embarking on a new endeavor: the Make It Black Campaign.

In short, the Make It Black Campaign is partnering with nine beauty brands to make some of their most iconic products’ packaging… well, black. Briogeo, Colourpop Cosmetics, Dragun Beauty, Flower Beauty, Maybelline New York, Morphe, Nyx Cosmetics, Pür Cosmetics, and Chuter’s own Uoma Beauty will each transform one of their products with all-black packaging for a limited time. That might not seem revolutionary at first impression, but I’ll let Chuter explain the deep meaning behind the project.

“What I want to tackle is language. If you look at most of the dictionaries… you will be appalled by some of the definitions of ‘black,'” Chuter explains. And she’s right — Merriam-Webster alone associates the word with despair, anger, dirtiness, and condemnation, among other things. And that attitude toward “black” in itself (whether in direct reference to Back people or not), she says, seeps into every aspect of our culture. “When we put something in language, it becomes our reality, and I refuse to live in a world where the reality of ‘black’ is that it’s ugly.” 

Repackaging products in black, Chuter explains, helps proves to the world that black defies its negative connotations at every turn. “Actually, black is classic. Black is formal. Black is the color of luxury,” Chuter says. “We don’t see that in the dictionaries, and it must change.”

These all-black products don’t just foster conversations about the color’s outdated definitions and racist connotations. The entirety of the proceeds made from the Make It Black Campaign will be donated to the brand-new Pull Up For Change Impact Fund, which “will deploy capital to Black-owned businesses and will be allocated as grants to emerging black founders,” according to Pull Up For Change. Members of the public will also be able to donate to the fund. 

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