Rihanna's Fenty Beauty slammed following accusations of cultural appropriation
Last week, Rihanna's eponymous beauty line, Fenty Beauty, released its summer collection. Amongst the drop was the highly anticipated Sun Stalker bronzer - which true to Fenty form comes in eight different shades - as well as three new Killawatt highlight shades in Afternoon Snack/Mo’ Huny, #PENNY4UTHOTS, and Geisha Chic.
The latter shade incited furore on social media, after people complained that it fetishises an aspect of Japanese culture.
"I think it’s really important that you all rethink this name, as there is a long oppressive history of geisha culture and the fetishization of it is something people need to move away from. Please reconsider," wrote one Instagram user on a post shared by Trendmood, which announced the launch.
And another fan of the makeup range took to Reddit to share how Fenty Beauty responded to her complaint about the shade's name. She posted a screenshot of the DM response from the brand's Instagram account, and it read "We hear you, we’ve pulled the product until it can be renamed. We wanted to personally apologize. Thank you so much for educating us."
She also summarised her original message to Fenty Beauty;
"I left a comment on their post for ‘Geisha Chic’ after they’d removed the name from the post saying it was convenient for them to leave it out and later commented back to people asking what the problem with the name was, about what the Japanese American redditors here said about fetishization of geishas in America and while it could possibly be meant to be positive, it will definitely rub some people the wrong way because of the constant misuse and negative connotations associated with it in western representations of geishas. They have removed their post now. I think of course it’s good they are responding to the feedback so quickly and changing the name, not making excuses. I could understand this definitely leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths regardless though. Curious to hear thoughts."
Fenty Beauty has since deleted all promotional material featuring the Killawatt shade from its social media accounts.