'Minstrel Show Black': Makeup Brand Slammed Over New Foundation Shade

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A makeup company is facing backlash for releasing a "minstrel show black" shade of foundation amid criticism that its initial shade range wasn't inclusive for people with darker complexions.

The backlash against makeup brand Youthforia began after Golloria George, a Black beauty creator on TikTok, reviewed the company's Date Night Skin Tint Serum last year. Of the 15 shades Youthforia released, George said none of them matched her skin, and she accused the brand of not being inclusive to darker complexions.

Following the initial review, Youthforia CEO Fiona Co Chan apologized, saying, “When I first started Youthforia two years ago, all I wanted to do was create a safe space where individual beauty could be celebrated. And unfortunately with our latest launch, we just fell short of that mission.”

The brand recently released 10 more shades, including its darkest, "600." On Monday (April 29), George released a follow-up review of Youthforia's darkest shade.

George compared the Youthforia foundation to jet-black face paint, saying the two looked too similar.

“When we say that we want you guys to make shades for us, we don’t mean to go to the lab and ask for minstrel show black,” George said in the video. “What we mean is to take the browns that you have made, create undertones, and do what you need to do in the lab so it’s a darker shade of brown.”

The beauty creator told NBC News that the new black shade “feels like a slap in the face."

“I feel like the beauty industry itself has taken a step backward,” she said. “We’ve seen so many complexion launches that would never work for a skin tone like mine.”

Javon Ford, who is also a Black beauty creator and cosmetic chemist, pointed out that Youthforia's new, darker shade only contained one pigment called "black iron oxide." The other 24 foundation shades all contain at least three pigments.

“This foundation literally only has pure black pigment,” Ford said of Youthforia's "600" in a video on social media “Anyone who has ever taken an art class will tell you that black is a terrible pigment to mix with, because it just makes things gray and muddy.”

Ford and George said the shade doesn't match any human skin tone.

“What I feel like Youthforia did is ask their manufacturers to make the darkest shade possible,” Ford said. “But we all have different undertones.”

“It shows they don’t really care to put in effort, they don’t really care to include darker complexions, and we are an afterthought to them. Humans have undertones,” George added.

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