Beautiful Girls

Black Businesswomen Are ‘Over Mentored and Underfunded.’ Sharon Chuter Is Fighting to Change That

Sharon Chuter is relentless. Since launching her #PullUporShutUpChallenge in June 2020, the Uoma Beauty founder hasn’t slowed down or stopped demanding that brands create actionable steps towards equality for Black and Brown people. The Pull Up or Shut Up movement was a game changer, mainly because it made obvious just how little companies actually do internally to champion their BIPOC employees. For the first time, major brands and companies got real with consumers about their employment figures, revealing, for example, how many BIPOC work in boardrooms versus behind cash registers.

While campaign sent shockwaves through many communities, most Black and Brown folks weren’t surprised. We’ve known for a long time why offensive or exclusionary ad campaigns get through marketing teams to the public eye. We know why it took so long for shades that match our skin tones to become accessible to us, not just in production but actually stocked in stores. It’s because of a lack of representation in the upper echelons of businesses. 

What Chuter did with the #PullUporShutUpChallenge was make that knowledge the internet’s business. Brands were forced to respond with more than a pastel-toned Black Lives Matter Instagram or—worse—black square. It worked. Companies promised to do better, to be Blacker at the creative and executive levels, and to dismantle their internal racist structures by making diversity a priority. Now, Chuter is yet again demanding more with the launch of a new campaign, Make It Black, and as usual, she means business.

Launching February 5, Make It Black is partnering with Ulta Beauty and nine major beauty brands to reimagine the packaging of their iconic and cult favorite products beautifully in all black everything. These limited edition products from Briogeo, Colourpop, Dragun Beauty, Flower Beauty, Maybelline, Morphe, NYX, PUR, Chuter’s own UOMA Beauty, and Ulta Beauty, are available for the duration of Black History month through Ulta and the brands’ webpages. 

“I hope it shows everyone who sees these products the transformative power of black,” Chuter says. “When we say black is beautiful, it’s not just something every Black person uses to console themselves. Black indeed is truly beautiful. When you take something that was any other color and turn it black you know what it looks like: it instantly looks luxurious. It instantly looks beautiful. Absolutely sleek. Absolutely chic.

Of course, the campaign doesn’t stop optics. “We’re going one step further because we pull up for change,” Chuter says. “Everything we do has to have an economic benefit.” Which is why 100% of the gross profits from the Make It Black line will be contributed to Chuter’s Pull Up for Change Impact Fund, which provides capital to Black-owned businesses and Black business-owners-to-be who, historically, don’t get the same monetary investments as businesses launched by their white counterparts. 

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