The popular beauty supply chain Sephora closed doors on more than 400 stores to facilitate diversity training for employees. This change came quickly after singer SZA commented publicly on an incident in which she was racially profiled by employees at a Calabasas, Cal. location.
SZA made headlines in April after publicly stating that while shopping at Sephora, employees had accused her of stealing. On April 29, @SZA tweeted, “Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing . We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy.”
Sephora quickly responded on Twitter, replying, “You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores.”
Saturday Night Live comedian Leslie Jones spoke out following Sephora’s diversity training announcement with a similar story. She tweeted, “I sent my makeup artist @LolasBeautyMark and my best friends wife to @Sephora 2103 Broadway store. she needed makeup and to learn how to apply. my makeup artist just called in tears of how bad they treated her and my friends wife!! The salesperson and manager. SO NO MORE SEPHORA”
These incidents involving famous black women sparked dialogue online about how all people of color are treated in Sephora locations, confirming the need for corporate acknowledgment and intervention regarding the issue of racial profiling.
Twitter user @akeyachicago Tweeted, “I really hope the diversity training works at @Sephora , I’m getting so tired of being bombarded with ” can I help you with somethings ” while others are shoving lashes in their bags.”
On June 5, Sephora allocated one hour to their diversity training initiative as a part of their “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign. The store stated in an Instagram post, “every Sephora store, distribution center, and corporate office in the US will close to host inclusion workshops for our employees. These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen.”
Many though were skeptical of the proposed training initiatives. Twitter user @chioma18 Tweeted, “@Sephora closing your stores for just 1 hour to teach your staff the meaning of diversity is NOT ENOUGH.It seems this is a recurring issue with your store as many of us black folks incl. myself have experienced similar treatment and it’s high time you fix the issue.”
Sephora stated that the incident involving SZA was not the singular reason for their new training initiative, as the workshop had been planned for months in advance in order to address a more systemic issue within the company.
In a video accompanying their Instagram post, Sephora stated, “Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences. We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included.”
Photo Source: Harper’s Bazaar