An influencer’s job is to promote a certain look or lifestyle in order to sell products. For fashion influencers, this means teaming up with brands to model their products for Instagram photos. In a time when entertainment, fashion, and beauty media can be found on the same platforms that give us world news, the role of the influencer becomes murky. When a social movement like Black Lives Matter occupies our newsfeeds, do we really want influencers to keep pushing fashion and beauty content?
The protests in response to George Floyd’s death make Flat Tummy Tea and mirror selfies insignificant. Many influencers have pressed pause on promoting their sponsorships, and it seems the common reaction is to either be silent, or to show support for BLM.
Unfortunately, numerous influencers missed the mark when trying to show support for BLM. On June 1st, Twitter user @ewufortheloss posted a video of social media personality Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin pretending to board up a storefront from protest looters in Santa Monica, California. The clip depicts Moriarty-McLaughlin posing for a photo holding a drill, standing next to a construction worker. She then hands the drill back to the worker and yells “Great job guys. BLM!” as she hopped in a black Mercedes-Benz and drove away.
Since the clip’s circulation, Moriarty-McLaughlin has set her socials to private due to accusations of being a fake ally. Similarly, Kris Schatzel, a LA-based model and influencer, posted a picture of herself holding up a “Black Lives Matter” sign at a protest. Before she posted the photo, footage of the model posing in a gown at the protest went viral. The video was first posted by Influencers in the Wild, an Instagram and Twitter page that captures influencers shamelessly posing for photos in public.
Schatzel and influencers alike have been accused of appearing at protests only to gain clout. As much as we all want to live in Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi commercial fantasy, we don’t. The white fashion community cannot keep exploiting the oppression of black people for capitalist gain.
One German teenager and makeup artist who goes by @catharinas_beauty on TikTok posted a video that instantly went viral, as she is seen painting her face half black, half white to promote solidarity with BLM.
She faced scrutiny for wearing black face. All over Instagram you can find other makeup looks featuring fake blood and bruises, all insensitive attempts to comment on police brutality. Considering this, here is a note to white influencers; stop performing ally-ship. Instead, donate money to black communities and promote your black counterparts. Here are a few of my favorite black influencers right now;