Inclusion Is Easier Than It Looks—Just Ask Revlon

In 1992, our own Veronica Webb made history by becoming the first black model to land a major cosmetics contract. The brand? Revlon, which at the time was also launching ColorStyle (ColorStay’s predecessor), a line formulated for the then-neglected black consumer (I was one such consumer).

Of course, these days, there’d likely be an outcry against a “separate but equal” makeup line (no shade to CoverGirl’s Queen Collection, which is a celebrity collaboration). But at the time, Revlon’s bold moves were considered revolutionary for a mainstream cosmetics brand.

It is said that when we know better, we do better. While the diversity momentum of the early ’90s waned a bit at the turn of this century, inclusion is now a bigger topic than ever before—especially in the beauty space.


Re-enter Revlon: By now, you’ve likely seen its #LiveBoldly campaign, which notably features a majority of models of color—including Imaan Hammam, Achok Majak and Adwoa Aboah—in addition to curvy supermodel Ashley Graham. Hot on the heels of the launch of its latest music video commercial, the brand has taken its message of inclusive beauty overseas.

Revlon South Africa’s latest brand ambassadors not only are dynamic women but (almost) span a spectrum of skin tones, featuring (from left to right below) TV personality Kim Jayde, choreographer and TV host Bontle Modiselle, actress-writer-director Michelle Mosalakae and TV host Luthando “Loot Love” Shosha.

As Jayde notes, this is ironically the first campaign of its kind in Africa, proving that Revlon is once again breaking new ground in the ongoing (and long-overdue) battle for truly inclusive beauty advertising. And while there is still plenty of ground left to cover, we’re going to give them the nod of encouragement for taking it a step further.


Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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REVLON has a long history of ignoring dark-skinned black women in their beauty campaigns and I’m not here for it. 👎🏿👎🏾👎🏽I literally avoid buying their makeup for this reason. REVLON not only sidelined the darkest skinned model in this new campaign, but she wasn’t featured anywhere on their site or Instagram. We don’t even know her name. I guess the star treatment is only reserved for light-skinned women. Maiysha, surely you know this? Name the last dark-skinned black woman celebrity in the USA who had a contract with REVLON. I’ll wait. 💅🏿💅🏾💅🏽 This isn’t inclusion it’s pandering.