THE 14TH ANNUAL SHORTY AWARDS

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project NEW!

The Beauty of Blackness

Entered in Branded Content, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Fashion and Beauty, Racial Equality

Objective

The Beauty of Blackness tells the story of the Black beauty industry through the lens of Fashion Fair — an iconic beauty brand that was once the largest Black-owned cosmetics company in the world. Founded in the 1970s by Eunice Johnson of Ebony and Jet fame, the brand revolutionized the industry, creating makeup for Black women by Black women, at a time when most cosmetics companies largely pretended they didn't exist. The company paved the way for a new generation of Black glamour—and in 2021, they returned to it again in partnership with Sephora.

The film gives viewers a front-row look at the massive undertaking that goes into reviving a Black heritage brand amidst new cultural context. It spotlights the colorism and inequity of the cosmetics industry and explores Fashion Fair's rapid rise, enduring legacy, and eventual hiatus—and how two Black women are breathing new life into the iconic brand.

This documentary feature gives viewers an intimate look at the excitement, fear, drama and stakes that accompany relaunching one of the most important Black-owned brands of the 20th century. Will they make their deadlines with Sephora? Will the customers return after the brand’s hiatus? And will they be relevant in a new landscape of young Black-owned brands, expanded shade ranges, dark skinned representation, and more options than ever before for Black women?

Strategy

Sephora is on a mission to fundamentally change the beauty industry, by not only creating space, but also by telling vital stories.

This feature length documentary and content investment is a first for the Sephora brand and comes on the heels of Sephora signing the “15% Pledge,” a public commitment to dedicating 15% of its inventory to products from Black-owned businesses. The Beauty of Blackness is just one way Sephora is spotlighting Black entrepreneurs, Black-owned brands and the consumers they serve. And one part of Sephora’s larger commitment to give Black culture the respect and position it deserves in the beauty community.

The execution began with a ‘story hunt’ where we spoke to over 250 historians, models, Black entrepreneurs, editors, makeup artists and more over 10 weeks to understand the history of the Black beauty industry and find the most salient and important stories among this rich pool of interviewees.

Filmed over the course of 16 months by two Black women directors, the film gives viewers a front-row look at the massive undertaking that goes into reviving a Black heritage brand amidst new cultural context. It spotlights the colorism and inequity of the cosmetics industry and explores Fashion Fair's rapid rise, enduring legacy, and eventual hiatus—and how two Black women are breathing new life into the iconic brand in collaboration with Sephora.

Results

In March 2022, The Beauty of Blackness was acquired and is now available on a major streaming platform.

Media

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Digitas; Vox Creative; Vox Media; Ventureland; Sephora, Sephora

Entry Credits