‘The Beauty of Blackness’ Documentary Chronicles the Colorful History of Fashion Fair Cosmetics

Annette K. Brown


The Natural beauty of Blackness, a documentary at present streaming exclusively on HBO Max, chronicles the increase — and revival — of just one of the American elegance industry’s most historic brand names: Trend Truthful Cosmetics.

First launched in 1973 by Eunice Johnson, publishing executive and wife of Johnson Publishing Business CEO John H. Johnson, Fashion Good Cosmetics was the very first national make-up line formulated and created especially for Black ladies, an inclusive mission that is far more recognizable in today’s current market, but whose broad and prosperous shade assortment was unattainable to discover at the time.

Extra from The Hollywood Reporter

Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and Desiree Rogers, each previous executives at the Chicago-dependent Johnson Publishing (which owned Ebony and Jet journals, along with Vogue Truthful), bought the organization 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 future chapter.

Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and Desiree Rogers - Credit: Courtesy of Heather Houston

Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and Desiree Rogers – Credit: Courtesy of Heather Houston

Courtesy of Heather Houston

The assortment, which is now vegan and cruelty-no cost, consists of basis, powder, priming serum, and 11 previous bestselling lipstick shades with the addition of new nudes. It is out there solely at Sephora and the brand’s revamped web-site.

“I assume it has an prospect to attractiveness to both equally ladies who are loyalists and women who are new, who potentially haven’t skilled the brand however,” Mayberry McKissack tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Like many trailblazing initiatives, particularly in the attractiveness marketplace, Style Truthful was born out of requirement. When Johnson could not find merchandise that correctly matched the complexions of Black styles collaborating in Ebony Manner Fair (the yearly, touring style party she developed that doubled as a charity fundraiser), the cosmetics line was born. It available a daring assortment of tangerine and plum-hued lipsticks and eyeshadows for ladies of coloration (who were commonly promoted much more neutral earth-tones) and in the long run turned the initial international cosmetics model for ladies of coloration available in superior-conclude office retailers like Neiman Marcus.

“She started out this organization to genuinely supply a resolution for a difficulty. The standard market place companies who ended up marketing cosmetics were being not earning shades for ladies of coloration,” claims Mayberry McKissack.

The documentary — directed by Tiffany Johnson (Black Monday, Pricey White People and Twenties) and Kiana Moore (vp of content material output and head of Vox Media’s Epic Digital) — tells this story by a refrain of voices, together with previous Style Truthful types like Pat Cleveland, singer Kelly Rowland, designer Sergio Hudson, and movie star makeup artist Sam Wonderful.

FF Collection Cosmetics - Credit: Courtesy of Fashion Fair

FF Assortment Cosmetics – Credit score: Courtesy of Style Good

Courtesy of Vogue Honest

“Fashion Reasonable Cosmetics presented some of the most important cultural times for folks of colour,” states High-quality, who more than his 30-12 months career has labored with a number of notable actresses (Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, Beyoncé Knowles, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Hudson) and supermodels (Tyra Banks, Veronica Webb, Iman, Naomi Campbell). “With minor to no illustration in cosmetics, Eunice Johnson one handedly built history and developed a risk-free haven for women of color in cosmetics — for equally buyers and personnel alike. I was thrilled to take part in the documentary and discuss on the historic increase, fall and relaunch of this legendary manufacturer. Having become the to start with Resourceful Makeup Director and launching the initially co-branded selection for the brand has been a highpoint in my career a homecoming of types.”

Filmed around the system of 2020, the movie was produced by Sephora in partnership with Vox Media’s Epic Digital, Vox Resourceful, and Ventureland, and streaming rights ended up ultimately obtained by HBO Max.

“One of the factors you see in it is that it tells the record and generates that bridge to be ready to explain to the story of what has been, but is also similarly important to explain to the tale of what is and what can be. And so you have obtained like a few various divisions: what transpired, what is going on, and then you have folks projecting what this implies for the long term,” suggests Mayberry McKissack.

Provides Rogers: “No one is likely to — just because of nostalgia — acquire one thing. So how do you excite people today about a manufacturer that has the history but is in a crowded sector? We worked with a Black skin doctor [Dr. Caroline Robinson] who is aware skin, and we also worked with Sam High-quality who really [knows color], in terms of staying able to tweak those people undertones, building specific that we have a neutral and a amazing undertone.”

Today, adhering to a number of cross-generation aim team meetings, Rogers and McKissack have a robust feeling of what the modern-day client is searching for: perfect colour matches, organic elements, goods that carry out double responsibility — like moisturizing lipsticks with excellent color payoff.

“It genuinely is the 1st cosmetics organization that was created in honor of Black woman’s glamour, splendor and manner,” suggests Rogers. “Black females sit at the cornerstone of this awesome brand name and we really don’t have several of individuals that have been all around 50 as well as yrs.”

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