A Symposium Of Voices Advocating For Social Change

Ayo (fka Opal) Tometi, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, on the role of social media in the movement.

Social media is one of the most important communications methods of our day. And just like in the past, when human rights advocates like Dr. King relied on the traditional press to get his message out, we’ve harnessed the power of getting the message out about critical issues using these tools. It has been important to handle it this way because we were being ignored by mainstream media for too long. Talking about anti-black racism wasn’t “cool”, so they ignored the injustice happening against our communities. Social media has been a necessity.

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Esi Eggleston Bracey, EVP & COO NA Beauty and Personal Care @ Unilever, on the evolution of inclusion in the beauty industry.

I have definitely seen some movement in the industry expanding its historically more narrow, one size fits all view of beauty, and this is refreshing. You see more black and brown faces in beauty advertising, and in in-store imagery. There has also been a significant expansion in the brands and entrepreneurs that are participating and succeeding in beauty – in particular from black, brown, and female founders. It’s good to see the progress, but there still is a long way to go for the beauty industry to reflect the full spectrum of beauty and diversity that we see in America -- 40% people of color, the full gender continuum, and a broad array of shapes, sizes, personalities, and nationalities.

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Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Editor-in-chief of New York Magazine’s The Cut, on what it takes to succeed in her industry.

A lot of [what I've overcome] has been the fact that I am unapologetically Black in all spaces, and that isn’t as easy as some would think it is. But, I’ve refused to compromise who I am. Part of that has meant that when I’m given opportunities to have a seat at the table, I’m not just sitting there with gratitude, I’m using that seat and gratitude to be a ladder for the next generation of young women of color, and it’s no longer about me.

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