Hyper-influencer makeup brand Tarte Cosmetics flew 50 beauty influencers to Dubai for a ritzy three-day press trip. The brand is known for its over-the-top lavish displays to present new launches, but this time the highbrow getaway sparked backlash.
While some users and brand enthusiasts were excited to see the opulent rollout, it left a bad social taste in the mouths of others. As the U.S. and Europe are in the wake of an extreme economic downturn, many felt the loud trip to one of the most expensive cities in the world was highly inappropriate. Was this the best time to flaunt an abundance of capital? Also, many white influencers were seen twisting and turning, marking another point of contention for those yearning and fighting proudly for consumer equity and representation. There seemed to be a flicker of the “palatable” Black and Brown girl, which led to even more outrage. Vogue Business even asked a question if the trip was considered “tone deaf.” In fact, as a Black and male beauty editor who’s often left out of these opportunities and conversations, I respectfully agree.
In 2023, among many other things, we still have quite a ways to go with primarily white brands with high visibility that market towards the underrepresented demo and consumer groups. Not to put the own just on Tarte as many other brands merely scratch the underlying surface. However, this brand is one of many rich in capital that has the resources to shift the narrative in many different markets but misses the mark each time. Where will it end?