Sharon Chuter Is Reclaiming the Dictionary Definition of "Black"

Her new Make It Black campaign provides funding for emerging Black founders.

make it black campaign

In honor of Black History Month, beauty businesses are rallying together to amplify their support for Black creatives. From thought-provoking campaigns to bold initiatives that provide funding for BIPOC in the industry, the push for diversity is a step in the right direction. Although a glass ceiling prevents the beauty industry from complete inclusivity, we're encouraged seeing the growing list of trailblazers tapping away at the invisible barrier with their influence. One beauty pioneer quickly comes to mind: Sharon Chuter, founder of UOMA beauty and the #PullUpOrShutUp campaign holding brands accountable for their internal diversity.

And today marks the official launch of the Make It Black campaign, an initiative created by Chuter to raise over $5,000,000 in funding for emerging Black founders.

This newly-launched brain-child of the Uoma Beauty founder comes less than a year after the groundbreaking #PullUpOrShutUp challenge—a social call-to-action that demanded companies to publicly disclose the number of Black employees in leadership roles. Within weeks, the viral movement changed the way fashion and beauty brands commit to diversifying their companies.

The new campaign’s focus is to not only raise funds for the new Pull Up For Change Impact Fund, which provides the necessary capital to Black founders who are disproportionately underfunded, but also aims to shift the perceptions around what it means to be Black.

"Language plays a critical role in how we perceive the world," Chuter says. She cites a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. as the inspiration for her cause: "Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything Black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionaries and see the synonyms of the word Black. It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word White, it’s always something pure, high and clean." Thus, one of the goals of the Make It Black campaign is to reclaim the word Black as an epitome of beauty and timelessness, rather than anything negative or "bad". "Language should be neutral, unbiased, and reflective of our current realities," she says. "It is in this regard that the dictionary has work to do. We are going to celebrate the beauty of Black."

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Make It Black Campaign

To raise funding for the campaign, the beauty entrepreneur has teamed up with nine beauty brands to reimagine some of the cosmetic brands’ best-selling items with all-black packaging. Notable brands participating include Briogeo, NYX, Dragun Beauty, Maybelline, and Colourpop. "In the month of February, we hope to raise $5M," Chuter tells Byrdie. "The goal is to deploy between $25K to $100K per founder, who will be chosen via a public pitch contest." She explains the purpose of the campaign is really focused on providing funds, rather than mentorship. Her reason is simple: ""Black founders are over-mentored and underinvested," she explains.

These limited-edition products will be available to shop on Ulta Beauty throughout the month of February. All proceeds of the all-black products will be donated to the non-profit, Pull Up For Change Impact Fund.

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