The Elegance of Blackness, a documentary at the moment streaming exclusively on HBO Max, chronicles the rise — and revival — of just one of the American natural beauty industry’s most historic manufacturers: Fashion Truthful Cosmetics.
1st released in 1973 by Eunice Johnson, publishing executive and wife of Johnson Publishing Enterprise CEO John H. Johnson, Vogue Good Cosmetics was the initially nationwide makeup line formulated and built particularly for Black girls, an inclusive mission that is additional recognizable in today’s current market, but whose wide and wealthy shade assortment was unattainable to uncover at the time.
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Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and Desiree Rogers, equally former executives at the Chicago-based mostly Johnson Publishing (which owned Ebony and Jet publications, together with Manner Reasonable), acquired the company out of individual bankruptcy in November 2019 for $1.85 million, and now, as co-owners (and president and CEO, respectively) have ushered it into its next chapter.
Courtesy of Heather Houston
The selection, which is now vegan and cruelty-no cost, includes foundation, powder, priming serum, and 11 previous bestselling lipstick shades with the addition of new nudes. It is readily available solely at Sephora and the brand’s revamped web site.
“I believe it has an opportunity to attraction to both equally girls who are loyalists and gals who are new, who perhaps haven’t expert the brand name yet,” Mayberry McKissack tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Like many trailblazing initiatives, specially in the magnificence field, Vogue Good was born out of requirement. When Johnson could not find products that accurately matched the complexions of Black types participating in Ebony Vogue Honest (the yearly, touring trend function she produced that doubled as a charity fundraiser), the cosmetics line was born. It provided a bold assortment of tangerine and plum-hued lipsticks and eyeshadows for females of color (who were being normally promoted more neutral earth-tones) and eventually grew to become the first worldwide cosmetics model for females of shade out there in superior-conclude division stores like Neiman Marcus.
“She begun this organization to truly provide a solution for a problem. The general sector companies who had been providing cosmetics had been not producing shades for ladies of colour,” suggests Mayberry McKissack.
The documentary — directed by Tiffany Johnson (Black Monday, Pricey White People today and Twenties) and Kiana Moore (vp of articles manufacturing and head of Vox Media’s Epic Digital) — tells this tale by a chorus of voices, together with previous Vogue Reasonable styles like Pat Cleveland, singer Kelly Rowland, designer Sergio Hudson, and movie star make-up artist Sam Wonderful.
Courtesy of Trend Good
“Fashion Good Cosmetics offered some of the most crucial cultural moments for men and women of coloration,” says Wonderful, who above his 30-year career has worked with many noteworthy actresses (Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, Beyoncé Knowles, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Hudson) and supermodels (Tyra Banking institutions, Veronica Webb, Iman, Naomi Campbell). “With minor to no representation in cosmetics, Eunice Johnson solitary handedly manufactured history and made a risk-free haven for ladies of color in cosmetics — for each customers and workers alike. I was thrilled to participate in the documentary and speak on the historic rise, tumble and relaunch of this iconic brand name. Obtaining turn into the 1st Creative Makeup Director and launching the initially co-branded collection for the brand has been a highpoint in my occupation a homecoming of types.”
Filmed in excess of the course of 2020, the movie was created by Sephora in partnership with Vox Media’s Epic Electronic and Vox Innovative, and streaming legal rights have been ultimately obtained by HBO Max.
“One of the things you see in it is that it tells the background and makes that bridge to be able to notify the tale of what has been, but is also equally significant to tell the story of what is and what can be. And so you’ve got like three diverse divisions: what occurred, what is happening, and then you have folks projecting what this suggests for the long run,” states Mayberry McKissack.
Provides Rogers: “No just one is likely to — just because of nostalgia — purchase a little something. So how do you excite persons these days about a brand that has the heritage but is in a crowded industry? We labored with a Black dermatologist [Dr. Caroline Robinson] who appreciates pores and skin, and we also worked with Sam Good who definitely [knows color], in phrases of becoming able to tweak people undertones, generating specified that we have a neutral and a neat undertone.”
Nowadays, following various cross-era emphasis group conferences, Rogers and McKissack have a powerful perception of what the contemporary shopper is looking for: excellent coloration matches, organic substances, solutions that carry out double duty — like moisturizing lipsticks with wonderful coloration payoff.
“It seriously is the very first cosmetics firm that was made in honor of Black woman’s glamour, attractiveness and style,” claims Rogers. “Black ladies sit at the cornerstone of this incredible brand and we don’t have numerous of those people that have been close to 50 furthermore decades.”