Isaac Rochell has entered the #TrippingwithTarte drama by choosing to cape for the controversial brand. The NFL player and devoted Instagram husband to Allison Kuch hopped on the clock app and pleaded to be included in another brand trip after Bria Jones declined to attend a trip hosted by Tarte. Jones felt she was treated differently than other creators, sparking a bigger discussion around the true meaning of diversity and inclusion.
The brand stumbled into another mess by offering Jones an itinerary different from her peers. She opted out rather than accepting less and shared her viewpoint with her followers. “I have more integrity than to get all the way to Miami and realize that I’m being treated like a second-tier person or like I’m being ranked,” Jones said in a video later deleted from her page. A few social media folks felt the creator was whiny, complaining about not being treated the same, but everyone deserves to be treated fairly at work regardless of their job.
Rochell, who has an unconventional day job as an athlete, should understand that. But somehow, he decided it was a good idea to hop on Beyonce’s internet and implored the brand to invite him back on another trip after referencing the videos discussing the controversy.
“I’ve been seeing all the Tarte videos. I just wanna say this Tarte first off, I don’t care if you have me in a closet,” said Kuch before offering to aid in cooking the food on a trip so that he cuddle up to the pastel palette pushers.
“I will work, I will cook,” he added.
His eager comments stood in contrast to the point of Jones’ comments.
Her issue was not that she was dissatisfied with the level of luxury offered on the work trip she was taking. It was that she was treated differently while doing the same job.
Jones’s job is to create content, and in this case, she was asked to create for a brand that has gone out of its way to say how committed to diversity and inclusion they are. That commitment should ensure that the Black women and other marginalized people you include in the spaces you host are treated the same as everyone else.
Brand trips are a valuable means of showing off products and associating a brand with the aspirational lifestyle they seek to promote. They are not favors, and they are not rewards. It is work; no one should feel “othered” in the workplace.
Rochell already had a relationship with the brand and did not have to get involved in a conversation surrounding yet another failure on their part to demonstrate the values they claim to uphold. The video was later deleted, but Black TikTok hopped in to defend Jones and the other creators who spoke up.
It’s wack to clout chase off someone else’s discomfort and weaponize their bravery in sharing their experience so that other creators know what they are getting into. Her statements did not detract from the social capital he and his wife have built from being one of TikToks favorite interracial couples.
Jones has a right to share her experience. She acknowledged that the trips are a privileged perk of the job while admitting that she felt uncomfortable attending.
Tarte’s troubled history
This is not the first time Tarte has been accused of treating some creators differently than others. Beauty influencer Cynthia Victor, known on Tiktok as @shawtysin, called the brand out for putting her in a smaller room on a trip, as if she and her audience were deserving of less. They also had a trip to Dubai, where they only invited the “top” influencers, and a healthy dose of melanin was missing from the equation.
Some in the comments pointed out that Jones and Victor had smaller numbers than a few other creators on the trip, but they were each asked to lend their likeness and talent to promoting the brand. Focusing exclusively on the number of followers a creator has ignores how systemic racism affects Black creators and creators from other marginalized communities. It also negates that some creators who build online communities benefit from certain types of content being prioritized over others.
If you decide that a creator is good enough to work with, consider them good enough to treat the same as the others.
Tarte has been disappointed with product launches as well. MakeupShayla, and Alissa Ashley gave us a heads-up about the brand’s shortcomings in 2018 when they launched a scandalously skimpy range of foundation shades for their Shape Tape collection. Our good sis Jackie Aina joined their Greek chorus when she got done streaming her sheets for the day.
Then came 2020. Every brand fell under pressure to prove that they were antiracists, and a ton of promises were made by the brand ranging from representational efforts to financial commitments.
They spat out boilerplate-style statements and let their CEO post apology videos she posted while doing her hair. However, they have yet to make drastic efforts to change the company’s DNA in a way that translates to how they evaluate potential partners.
Honestly, they don’t have to if they don’t want to, the same way that Black women don’t have to participate in being treated less than others, and Black men are welcome to celebrate others without going against Black women.
Everyone has choices.
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