”Missied the mark’ is putting it lightly’

Beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina came under fire last week for using a slogan associated with #EndSARS, Nigeria’s movement against police brutality, as the name of one of her newly launched candles.

Aina, who is Nigerian American, is known in the beauty world for being an advocate for people of color. She has more than 3.5 million followers and launched her lifestyle brand, Forvr Mood, in 2020, featuring homewares and candles, which reportedly sold $700,000 worth of products in the top four. hours after launch. The candle line is now also sold at Sephora.

On Thursday, in honor of Aina’s birthday, Forvr Mood announced the release of four new candles which were part of a collection to honor her Nigerian heritage. One of the candles was called Sòro Sókè, which translates to “speak louder” in Yoruba, a phrase that was a popular chant during protests against police brutality in Nigeria from 2017.

The #EndSARS movement was a campaign to disband Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which according to a June 2020 report by Amnesty International has waged a “horrible reign of impunity”. Between January 2017 and May 2020, the report found “at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial executions”. The unit was disbanded in October 2020, but protests continued.

Aina has been criticized in the past for not using her platform to support the #EndSARS movement. She spoke on October 11, 2020 – the day SARS was disbanded – by share information about the movement on Twitter. But according to followers, she has not voiced her opinion on the protests or SARS so far.

“Dear non-Nigerians”, a Twitter user wrote. “The reason this is getting so much backlash is because Jackie Aina shamelessly named one of the candles ‘Soro Soke’, which translates to ‘talk’. It was one of the rallying cries during EndSars But Jackie was notably quiet during the protests.

Another Twitter user compared the situation to “a brand naming a product ‘#BLM’, ‘Say Her Name’ or ‘Free Palestine'”.

In deleted video since, Aina said she named the candle something she said “matched the energy of what I was feeling.” She described the sandalwood-scented candle as “the bomb”.

A day after the candles launched, Forvr Mood removed Sòro Sókè’s listing from its website. Over the weekend, Aina took to Instagram to publicly apologize and announce that the candle had been pulled from production.

Other social media users pointed out that the situation was indicative of a larger problem within the influencer economy – that work “will never be ethical”.

“It depends on marketing and selling products,” writer Zuva Seven tweeted. “So yeah, aestheticizing your culture to sell candles makes sense in that regard.”

A Reddit user explained that there may be a way for brands to address political themes without creating chaos by using product funds wisely.

“IMO [this] is the right way to do it,” the post read. “Raise awareness of these organizations and issues and use these funds wisely. Which, you know, isn’t what happened here at all. [with Aina]. ‘Missed the mark’ is putting it lightly.

Post-beauty influencer Jackie Aina apologizes after the candle name backlash appeared first on In The Know.

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