Sephora is closing stores for diversity training after SZA racial profiling incident

Sephora is one of the most popular beauty havens in the U.S., but after being called out for racial discrimination, many people have been wondering how the brand will respond.

In April, singer and songwriter SZA took to social media to call out a disturbing incident she had while shopping at a Sephora in Calabasas, California.

She tweeted “Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing. We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy.”

SZA’s post picked up lots of traction immediately, and later prompted a response from Sephora.

The brand tweeted, “You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores.”

To further drive efforts of ensuring incidents such as SZA’s don’t become an ongoing occurrence, Sephora is closing all of its U.S. stores for one hour on June 5 for diversity training with all of its employees.

This unique training also aligns with the brand’s “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign which debuts the next day.

Through this campaign, 16,000 employees will participate in a one-hour inclusivity workshop. During this time, it will be discussed what it means to belong, across many different lenses that include, but are not limited to, gender identity, race and ethnicity, age, abilities and more.

“This store closure is part of a long journey in our aspiration to create a more inclusive beauty community and workplace, which has included forming employee resource groups, building Social Impact and philanthropic programs, and hosting inclusive mindset training for all supervisors,” Sephora wrote in a statement sent to “Good Morning America.”

Sephora has also confirmed that although their latest campaign is not the result from SZA’s initial tweet, “it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a celebrity of color has called a major retailer out for racial profiling.

In 2013, rapper Jay-Z, whose real name is Sean Carter, faced an uncomfortable situation with Barneys in which his collaboration with the company was called into question after allegations of the store’s racial profiling surfaced.

Over 57,000 people petitioned for the Carter to cut ties with the luxury fashion retailer.

In this case, Jay-Z chose to move forward with the Barneys partnership, but also under the condition of him having a leadership role on the store’s council to discuss store policies.

We can’t yet predict what the outcome of Sephora’s efforts for change will be, but their scheduled store closing seems to be a step in the right direction.

The brand wrote, “This week marks the first step in our journey, and with the goal of ensuring everyone feels welcome in the beauty category, we hope that ‘We Belong to Something Beautiful’ helps further foster that belief, for the benefit of our clients, for the betterment of the industry and our communities at large.”

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