If nothing else, beauty influencer Jackie Aina is reliable AF. You can count on her to deliver a next level slay, her videos are never short of hilarious, and above all, she always gives it to her viewers straight. Recently posting a makeup tutorial calling out racism in the beauty industry, the guru gave her YouTube subscribers a heaping dose of reality.
It's no secret that women of color often feel underrepresented in the beauty industry, an issue Aina often addresses in her reviews of complexion products. The indescribable fanfare surrounding Fenty Beauty's 40 shade foundation launch and its constant selling out is proof that WOC have long-awaited to feel included in the beauty community. With other brands following in RiRi's footsteps, extending shade ranges and ensuring all-inclusive product launches, it seems the industry is making progress. Yet, there are still brands coming out with new foundation ranges that feature very few bases for dark skin, which makes it apparent that there's still so much progress to be made.
Enter Aina's latest upload, "I Don't See Color," a video in which the makeup maven addresses what it's like to be a black beauty influencer in a community that often ignores race, or color, as a serious issue.
Aina starts her tutorial-turned-social-commentary off with her usual dancing and singing of her "Jackie" theme song, but the fun and games end there. Setting up her tutorial with an intro explaining her frustrations with the lack of inclusiveness in the beauty industry, she comments on the negative feedback her channel receives in regards to the way she tackles race issues in her videos.
"I don't know if you've guys noticed, but it's kind of integral often to talk about color and issues surrounding color," says Aina, in reference to her career as an influencer. "It really kills me that talking about something as simple as my foundation color really has people feeling some type of way."
She explains that she doesn't agree with those who claim, "I don't see color" and the differences between people. To give her subscribers a visual representation of what it's like to ignore color, she decides to do an entire tutorial in black-and-white.
Aina buffs on Nars Foundation with "to die for" coverage, "conceals away the BS she experiences on YouTube" with concealer in lighter shades, and highlights her facade with an illuminator that delivers "the most stunning, gorgeous glow".
But none of the amazing products she mentions really matter. Why? Because the black-and-white filter makes the how-to portion of the video useless, given that you can't truly see the products in action without color.
When the makeup look is revealed in color, Aina's final look is proof that "seeing color" makes all the difference. Just to really drive her point home, the guru purposefully used a foundation that was too dark for her skin tone, red pigment for nose contouring, and a yellow concealer for her under eye, creating a real head scratcher of a makeup look. So, what's really the point of watching her use the wrong products?
Her tutorial shows that it is impossible to ignore color. In theory, it sounds enlightened to say that one doesn't see color: The statement is generally used to suggest that one views all races as equals. However, in Aina's opinion, the statement can imply that racial issues do not exist.
"Expecting that me as a dark skinned woman is going to walk around acting like I'm not black or acting like it's not a factor, is just as unrealistic as you walking into a Sephora and grabbing any foundation color and expecting it to work," Aina emphasizes.
From the often discussed perceived racial bias in law enforcement to the lack of shade diversity in the beauty industry, POC are constantly reminded of their color by the way society treats them. Even when said with good intentions, using the "I don't see color " line can come off as disrespectful, given that POC don't have the privilege of not being affected by race.
"My problem is when people take that flawed thinking that you get to just ignore everything. Why is it that you get to ignore something that I don't get to ignore?" Aina questions.
Applied to the beauty industry, racial injustices can come in the form of excluding certain skin tones from shade ranges.
"I don't really feel like people understand what it feels like to not be seen," says Aina, referencing what many POC experience when walking up to a beauty counter to find products to suit their complexion.
Rather than ignore racial issues with a statement that says color isn't a factor, the industry must celebrate and acknowledge differences amongst races. That means striving to create all-inclusive products.
"I'm tired of being ignored. I have dark skin. I'm going to talk about sometimes," Aina voices.
And if you aren't picking up what she's putting down, girlfriend is more than willing to show you the door.