Since its launch, Rihanna's Fenty Beauty has been the working definition of inclusivity in the beauty industry. When the brand released its latest batch of highlighters and bronzers, though, it faced backlash. After Fenty revealed a "Geisha Chic" highlighter that came in a rosy hue, some people called out the brand on Instagram for cultural insensitivity. Almost immediately, though, Fenty Beauty issued an apology to at least one user who left a comment about finding the the name of the highlighter offensive.
"We hear you, we have pulled the product until it can be renamed," reads the apology, which the recipient posted a screenshot of on Reddit. "We wanted to personally apologize. Thank you so much for educating us." Shortly after, the Instagram user who received the apology explained how exactly it came about, on Reddit, writing, "I left a comment on their post for geisha chic after they’d removed the name from the post. [I said] it was convenient for them to leave it out, and later commented back to people asking what the problem with the name was about [and] what the Japanese American redditors here said about fetishization of geishas in America. While it could possibly be meant to be positive, it will definitely rub some people the wrong way because of the constant misuse and negative connotations associated with it in western representations of geishas."
The person that Fenty Beauty apologized to also expressed gratitude for the brand's direct message. "They have removed their post now. I think of course it’s good they are responding to the feedback so quickly and changing the name, not making excuses," they wrote. "I could understand this definitely leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths regardless though. Curious to hear thoughts."
As for the Fenty Beauty head, Rihanna has yet to address the backlash. She is likely in deep stealth mode as she works on her next major release: a luxury fashion brand with LVMH with the working title, Project Loud France. Outside of having dominated the cosmetics industry and lingerie, Rihanna will soon set her sights on doing the same with everything from women’s wear and men’s wear to clothing for kids, footwear, leather goods, athleisure, and eyewear.