We aren’t the only one that thinks 2018 is the year of Fenty and we are proud of our girl. She recently had her inclusive lingerie line (Savage x Fenty) debut at the New York Fashion week. Now, Rihanna covers Allure’s 2018 Best Of Beauty issue!
The magazine asked five of Rihanna’s biggest admirers to write an open letter to the queen (including Slick Woods) and here is what they wrote;
- Cynde Watson, makeup-brand founder
When I was a model, back in the early ’90s, it was really tough to find my own foundation, or to have makeup artists understand my skin tone at all, so I mixed my own and made it work. I ended up doing makeup for all of the other girls, and that’s how I became a makeup artist. (For a while, I assisted Bobbi Brown, and then I worked with her as the global head of artistry for her brand.) In 2007, I launched my own brand, a series of makeup sticks in a variety of shades, called Color by Cynde Watson. I thought it would be cool for them to be dual-ended, a warm and cool shade. Undertones are everything for women of color. That was key. I went to HSN with it and started selling it.
But it didn’t work out. It was too ahead of its time. First of all, being a black woman selling to all women — it was referred to as a line for women of color. And I was like, “No, it’s not, it’s for all women.” It was so crazy for people to wrap their heads around that in 2007. Ten years later, it’s finally time.
Rihanna, I truly commend your fearlessness and passion to continue the amazing fight to normalize inclusivity in the beauty industry. To be fair, there are a few key makeup brands that I recognize and appreciate from “back in the day” whose missions were and still are to celebrate multiple skin tones, but I credit you for breaking boundaries and shaking things up in today’s beauty space with your intense conviction and celebrity influence. You are inspiring consumers, retailers, and future beauty brands to think globally and recognize that all skin tones matter.
And that’s a beautiful thing.
2. Slick Woods
I met you during the Fenty Puma Season 2 show in Paris — it was my first time out of the country. I always thought your shit was made for me, and I wanted nothing more than to model for you, so hearing that I was cast in your show had me ecstatic. That you continued to use me was just surreal — business turned family real quick.
You introduced me to a more mainstream level of exposure. I was famous for all of the wrong reasons before. People loved the idea of Slick, but you gave me countless platforms to let people actually fall in love with who I am. You made inclusivity cool, and that’s revolutionary. Now people are putting money toward inclusion, rather than putting money toward a certain supremacy. It’s a beautiful switch in pace. You have my loyalty until the end of time. My gratitude for the growth, love, and support you’ve put in my life will never subside. You are a true angel and the most multifaceted, immortal boss I’ve ever met. I’m so thankful for you. But you knew dat.
3. Kim Johnson, superfan
I was 14 when the “Umbrella” video came out. I was also one of three black girls in my class of over 80 people. I wore two thick, poorly parted braids on either side of my head, and I was in a perpetual state of anxious self-consciousness. I was an Awkward Black Girl. And I was highly unprepared for “Umbrella,” which to some was just a music video, but to me was an existential mindfuck.
Here was a black woman who had completely unsettled the agreeable, cookie-cutter pop-star personality that had previously been assigned her. I inhaled magazine articles about your decision to cut your hair without sign-off from your label (unprecedented!) and the hysteria that ensued. You seemed to become bolder, a bit darker, and simultaneously more comfortable with yourself. I was struck by the image: a young black woman taking control of the narrative that had already been set for her by the people around her.
Meanwhile, for the first time, I realized that I, too, could define the way I presented myself to the world. I felt unstuck. Fast-forward 10 years, I still have never dyed my hair, have a relatively normal amount of social anxiety, and can only barely partake in current dance trends. But I am bolder, more comfortable, and very much in control of who I am. I’m still no good girl gone bad, but that’s not the point. I can be whoever I want to be, in part because you showed me I could.
4. Ateh Jewel, writer and blogger
When we met at your Fenty Beauty launch in London, I gushed at you like a proud auntie, as I have been fighting for diversity in the beauty industry for over 18 years.
Fenty Beauty has helped to heal my 14-year-old broken heart.
But it goes deeper than that for me. Fenty Beauty has helped to heal my 14-year-old broken heart. As a teen, I would go to beauty counters filled with excitement, wanting to express myself through playing with colors. Instead, I was shooed away by beauty consultants who looked like they belonged in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands — all lacquered bangs and blue eye shadow. They told me, “There’s nothing for you here, go to the back of the beauty hall and try and find Fashion Fair.” When I asked for blush, I was told, “Black girls don’t do pink.” I was told, “You’re so dark, you don’t need foundation. This is not for you.” It made me feel like I was nothing. I was angry and frustrated that they were telling me that the world of glamour, power, and acceptance wasn’t for me. The beauty apartheid that I felt trapped in was the last bastion of open segregation. I wasn’t welcome, and I certainly wasn’t being catered to by major beauty brands with foundations that matched my rich, deep skin tone.
So when I saw your campaign with its collective of powerful women of all shades, backgrounds, and religions, I shed a tear. My twin daughters are seven, and they are of mixed heritage with lighter skin and looser curls. The world is changing for them. At three, they used to cry that they wanted yellow hair like Elsa from Frozen. Now when we walk into beauty halls together, they see faces that look like them shining down and they feel proud and accepted.
Read the last letter here