Sephora is launching a day of “inclusion workshops” and closing all 400 of its stores June 5 to teach employees about how not to be racist after the singer SZA claimed she was racially profiled in its Calabasas store.
The platinum-selling artist reportedly was trying to buy some Fenty beauty products in peace when she was targeted by a woman she renamed as “Sandy Sephora.”
When the 28-year-old chart-topper was looking for cosmetics from Rihanna’s Fenty line, she said she was confronted by mall security. She was then informed that a store employee had accused her of theft and called authorities to detain her.
In April, SZA wrote about her experience: “Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing,” the singer wrote on Twitter. Adding, “Can a b***h cop her fenty in peace er whut.”
After the troubling incident, Rihanna surprised SZA with a Fenty Beauty gift card and posted a supportive message on Instagram.
“Go buy yo Fenty Beauty in peace sis!” wrote Rihanna, who launched the cosmetics brand in 2017.
“Tanks queen!” SZA replied.
In response to the makeup debacle, Sephora posted on social media of their intent to close their locations and asked their customers to join in their efforts to build a more inclusive beauty community, The Daily Mail reports.
“Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our difference,” the beauty company wrote.
“We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included.”
The brand also included a link to its We Belong to Something Beautiful campaign.
“These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen.”
Sephora also released the following statement to The Grio:
“Sephora is a client-centric company and creating a welcoming space for all our clients is our top priority. The “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign has been in the works for a year, and the plan to close our U.S. stores, distribution centers, call centers and corporate office for a one-hour inclusivity workshop with our 16,000 employees has been in development for over six months, timed with our first campaign chapter debuting on June 6th. 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.
While it is true that SZA’s experience occurred prior to the launch of the “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet. However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever. Our entire organization is excited to set aside this time to re-commit to building an environment of inclusion. We’ll be discussing 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 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.”
Time will tell if Sephora employees truly change the tide on the store’s culture.