ColourPop Faces Backlash After Harry Potter Collab

ColourPop is facing backlash for releasing a new “Harry Potter” themed makeup collection in collaboration with the franchise. The author of the “Harry Potter” series, J.K. Rowling, stirred up controversy in 2020 after revealing her views on the transgender community.

ColourPop is one of the most popular online beauty brands. In 2019, it surpassed Glossier and Mac in monthly visits.

Several influencers opposed the collab, citing that the collection would support Rowling monetarily. Since ColourPop used the Harry Potter logo and brand, some of its profits would have to go to Rowling under licensing agreements.

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J.K. Rowling came under fire in June 2020 after posting a series of transphobic tweets. In response to the internet backlash that ensued, she doubled down on her views, suggesting trans-rights supporters are “offering cover to predators” in a 3,600-word essay.

The internet quickly labeled her a “trans-excluding radical feminist,” colloquially known as a TERF. The cast of the Harry Potter movie series, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, all publicly stated their support for the trans community soon after.

ColourPop is well known for releasing pop-culture-themed collaborations. In the past, the beauty company has released products themed around Star Wars, Sailor Moon, The Mandalorian, Animal Crossing and many others.

These collaborations are usually celebrated since the brand likes to release vibrant palettes that capture the iconic shades tied to pop-cultural references. The promo posts for this collaboration on ColourPop’s Instagram, however, were riddled with comments from influencers and loyal customers criticizing the brand.

“Wow, performative activism. You can’t claim to support marginalized groups and then collaborate and actively support and give money to those who hate and discriminate against those groups. Posting a fundraiser for an LGBT group instead of donating yourselves, and y’know, not collaborating with a TERF. Not it, Colourpop.”

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ColourPop’s social media engagement strategy was one of the reasons it became one of the most popular beauty brands used by influencers with millions of followers. Temptalia, a well-known beauty blog with one million monthly readers, called out the company for not addressing the criticism head-on.

“I’m just gonna say it again… Not even having the decency to acknowledge WHY some of your customers are upset (because the creator, JK Rowling, has made transphobic comments over and over again, on top of other issues she has both past and present) is so damn disappointing… on top of green-lighting this collection anyway.”

The collaboration is still on sale on the site. It is unclear how much money Rowling would make off any profits.


Rihanna And Lady Gaga Are Changing How The World Defines Beauty

The beauty industry has truly evolved tremendously within the past few years. What was once an industry that only used celebrities as an image to sell their products has become a large community in which anyone can grow a business one way or the other, and celebrities go about endorsements by simply making their own brand. The biggest name in the beauty industry in the past few years has been Rihanna. The platinum album singer started Fenty beauty in 2017 and it has rocked the beauty world. 

A major issue that has been very prominent in the beauty industry is a lack of access to make up for people of color. Time and time again brands would release foundation, concealer, and powders all geared to fair and light skin tones, with a couple of darker shades just thrown in. That same concept goes for the beauty industry in its entirety. Advertisements mainly including white cis-gendered female models who are skinny and blonde and appeal to the classic “girl next door” vision that companies for whatever reason don’t think is a tired concept. 

So when Rihanna announced the creation of her brand Fenty Beauty, which would begin with the release of 40 different foundation shades, the beauty world was flipped on its head. Rihanna also exclusively cast woman of color for the campaigns and opened her business as one discussing the importance of diversity and inclusivity in all realms of life. The brand made $570 million in revenue its first year. 

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After the iconic launch of Fenty Beauty the entire industry scrambled to try to right the wrongs of stocking non-inclusive makeup products that mainly appealed to white audiences. However, makeup users everywhere knew that older brands switching up their marketing were doing it as a means of viewing inclusivity as a “trend” and “smart business choice” over genuine desire to appeal to a broader audience of individuals. 

“Women are smart enough to see an eye shadow and not have to see it on a blond person for them to want to buy it, but we’ve been fed that marketing analysis. Fenty proved it was complete bullshit” said makeup artist James Kaliardos, who helped launch Fenty as a resident artist, in an interview with Billboard Magazine

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Lady Gaga more recently also made major headlines in the same way Rihanna did with the announcement of her own make-up brand “Haus Labs”. Gaga launched her brand with less product but just as much of an impact. The initial launch included eye liners, lip glosses/liners, and the Haus Labs exclusive ‘face lace’. These products may differ greatly compared to Fenty’s initial launch, however, both brands launched with a similar mentality behind what the brands were really about. Haus Labs made headlines with its advertisements including multiple members of the LGBT+ community. Gaga has always been known for her advocacy for the community and she didn’t disappoint this time either. Her launch party included a bunch of queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, and LGBT+ models/performers both professional and social media based. 

“We are celebrating everyone. At the forefront [of the brand], as much as the products, were questions of how we were going to spread messages of bravery and kindness and inclusivity” said Sarah Tanno, Haus Labs Co-Owner and Gaga’s longtime make up artist. 

Both Gaga and Rihanna are amazing figures to be leading the beauty revolution of pop stars starting their own brands, as opposed to being used as just an image behind someone else’s vision, as a means of creating a larger global impact. This way, they can play by their own rules and who’s gonna tell them no? 

“Everything we put out there tells people to accept or not accept people, and we have to be aware of how we do that. There are pop stars who just do a look — and then pop stars who really take you on a journey,” said Kaliardos

It’s not about how large of a platform they have but more so how they choose to use it, and Rihanna and Gaga are showing the rest of the individuals in the industry exactly what they should be doing. Having creative control over your own brand is so important if part of the mission of that brand is to spread awareness and emphasize diversity and inclusivity.