Tik Tok Pro-Choice Activism Trend, New Editions to Inclusive Beauty Brands, ‘Make it Black’ Campaign Influencing Corporations, & Cousins Created System to Help Seniors Receive Vaccines
Tik Tok Makes Pro-Choice Activism Trend
By Khushi Bhatt
Tik Tok is a revolutionary app that has gained popularity over the last few years. On the platform, anyone can create a video and share their talents, allowing the opportunity for billions of people to interact with their content. Tik Tok provides users with a chance to go viral, and even become famous; a phenomenon that was much less accessible prior to the app’s rise. A girl gang of pro-choice clinic defenders from Charlotte, North Carolina, including 20-year-old Mina Varaz, from a local nonprofit Charlotte for Choice, recently made a splash on the app. Charlotte for Choice is an organization that is actively working to keep abortions safe, legal, and accessible for all women, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation. Mina Varaz was eager to advertise their cause on Tik Tok.
After posting a video of her confronting a pro-life protester, Chris, saying “let us defend our right,” Varaz saw her account boom. Her account completely transformed, receiving over 2.2 million views and 100 thousand likes within the span of 48 hours. Varaz has since continued posting videos portraying her pro-choice beliefs and her following has continued to grow.
Twenty-year-old Reiley Baker was one of the million people who watched Varaz’s Tik Tok. But as she is from North Carolina, she did more than just enjoy these videos, she joined in and volunteered at an abortion clinic. Baker was not the only one; many people were inspired by Varaz’s page and sought opportunities to aid in protecting abortion rights. Many women became abortion clinic escorts (people who assist patients and staff to enter and exit abortion facilities safely, preventing any potential harassment or danger to individuals) and use their voices to promote pro-choice as a result of Tik Tok videos, like Mina Veraz’s. These women illustrate the power of social media and activism.
New Editions to Inclusive Beauty Brands
By Natasha Gilman
Nordstrom, one of the top department stores in America, recently released their new line of Black-owned inclusive beauty products, which provide a wide range of colors to suit the needs of all their customers. Last October, Nordstrom allocated a separate section of their website to seven inclusive black-owned brands, making it easier for customers to find businesses to support. With the website’s headline reading “curated assortment of products created for everyone–regardless of skin or hair type, tone, complexion or texture,” the new beauty category attracted many shoppers and inspired them to highlight more brands to celebrate Black history month. The five new brands that were added to the Nordstrom inclusive line are targeted at everyone, promoting diversity and inclusion in our society.
The first brand, Uoma Beauty, was founded by Sharon Chuter. Chuter recently founded the Pull Up For Change movement last summer, an effort to spread transparency of Black representation in the beauty industry. Her makeup brand, Uoma Beauty, focuses on inclusivity as its predominant focus. If you are interested in this inclusive Black-owned brand, you should consider purchasing their best-selling product, Say What Foundation.
Rosen, the second addition to Nordstrom’s inclusive beauty line, was founded by Janika Martin, a Black entrepreneur who was tired of boring and diversity lacking skincare. Martin’s skincare line, Rosen, is filled with fun and unique products with options for all skin types and tones.
A third addition to the line is Sienna Naturals, a hair care line created by Hannah Diop. In contrast to the many hair care brands at the drugstore that are filled with harsh chemicals like sulfates and silicones that damage your hair, Sienna Naturals provides truly pure hair care. Diop’s line focuses on keeping harmful ingredients out of your shampoo and conditioner while supplying your strands with the nutrients they need.
The importance of sunscreen has been emphasized by many dermatologists and skincare influencers over the past few years. Out of the frustration of constantly using ashy sunscreen, Katonya Breaux, the founder of Unsun, created a sunscreen in 2016 that can be used on any skin tone.
Lastly, Christina Funke Tegbe, created 54 Thrones, a brand that remained close to her African roots. Tegbe’s brand focuses on the African roots of skincare and incorporates African culture into all aspects of its products, artisans, and ingredients.
Black History month has inspired the release of these small Black-owned brands into the large superstore Nordstrom. The creation of these brands is groundbreaking in the beauty industry and should be celebrated. Aiming for a future of inclusivity, the Beauty industry is transforming to provide more inclusive products to its customers.
The ‘Make It Black’ Campaign is Influencing Corporations More Than Ever Before
By Ava Needleman
After the unjust murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and numerous others, many have joined the Black Lives Matter movement in order to advocate for true race equity. In early June 2020, creator of UOMA Beauty, Sharon Chuter saw many black squares on her Instagram feed with the hashtag “BlackOutTuesday.” She witnessed large brands and celebrities posting to support the cause, but she wanted to do more and continue the Black Lives Matter movement beyond an Instagram post.
“My entire corporate career, I was always the only Black person at the organization,” says Chuter, “there was never a meeting I went to even globally where there was another Black person in the room. Never. These are the things that really need to change.” Chuter created the Make It Black campaign, which has collaborated with well-known brands such as Morphe, Maybelline, Dragun Beauty, and more to curate packaging that celebrates Black History Month. Along with Make It Black, the Chuter’s hashtag #PullUporShutUp has also gone viral as it encourages people to join the fight for equality. Chuter feels confident that she will continue to work with many more businesses. The Pull Up For Change challenge consisted of Sharon Chuter asking people to stop supporting companies for 72 hours until they reveal how many black people were employed as leaders of the company.
Make It Black sells a variety of makeup and skin-care products, and all of the proceeds are donated to the Cuter’s Pull Up For Change organization. Many companies are working to make their staff more diverse and inclusive. Chuter has told journalists, “So, if the whole world is going to come together and say Black lives matter, then let’s make Black lives matter. Let’s stop talking about it. Talk is cheap. You can’t say Black lives matter if you don’t have any Black employees in your office.”
These Innovative Cousins have Created a System to Help Seniors Receive Covid-19 Vaccines
By Leigh Smith
With COVID-19 vaccines being approved and provided to citizens throughout the United States, cousins Amelie Beck and Jacqueline Teaque spotted a problem and possible solution to the new system of vaccination appointments. The cousins found that there was a significant amount of confusion and difficulty when senior citizens went to set up an appointment, as many seniors are not accustomed to the complex technology familiar to others. Although senior citizens are included in twenty-eight state’s phase 1A or phase 1B priority lists as of January 19th, many of these individuals were challenged with the task of making a vaccine appointment. To combat this problem, cousins Amelie Beck and Jaqueline Teaque developed a software program designed to assist seniors in setting up their COVID-19 vaccine appointment, while also managing hybrid schooling and extracurricular activities. When the cousins assisted in setting up their own grandparent’s appointments because of their struggle with the verification process and authentication steps, they were sparked with the idea of helping others who may have similar issues. Once they began helping their grandparent’s friends, they “realized it was a more common issue than we expected,” Teague said.
The two cousins created a template, a private Facebook account, and a phone line in order to assist people, providing all of the information one not familiar with technology would need to book a vaccine appointment. After the template was created, their schools shared it and a great surplus of calls began to accumulate, as many senior citizens sought guidance from the tech-savvy teens. Their system is quite simple and easy for anyone to follow. It is called “VaxConnectKY.” Once a user contacts the cousin duo, the cousins guide and assist them through creating accounts and inserting their information, all confidentially. They have helped hundreds of seniors schedule appointments and their system has even spread to the New Jersey and Florida areas. With their hybrid school schedule, they are able to optimize their time by taking calls in any small lunch break or in between classes. They even have trained their siblings to assist them in their program. Although their system has been extremely helpful, some concerns have arisen. For instance, many senior citizens do not have access to any internet connection. Nonetheless, Beck and Teaque have done their best to reach out and provide all the help they can, and their efforts are greatly appreciated. This system has had a significant impact on the number of elders booking Covid-19 vaccine appointments, and numerous elderly people have praised the cousins for their hard work. Amelie Beck and Jacqueline Teaque have made a beneficial impact on their community, their state, and those their system has reached.