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MAC Cosmetics, a cosmetics manufacturing giant that operates out of New York City, has collaborated with Nicki Minaj, a US rapper, to release Viva Glam Nicki 2, a collection that consists of a lipstick and a lipglass. This is Minaj’s second partnering with MAC Cosmetics, Viva Glam Nicki was released in February 2012.

If you have noticed by my wording, this will not be your standard write-up about a beauty product.

Black girl beware

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The sole purpose of the Viva Glam campaign over the years has been simple; with 100% of Viva Glam sales going to men, women, and children that are affected by HIV and AIDS, the intentions are good. After reading the press release last week, and preparing myself to share this information with you (readers), I thought about something: Why are we black women purchasing this?

Let’s break this down, one line at a time:

  • Nicki Minaj is a black woman
  • From a marketing standpoint they assume that we (black women) want to wear the shades of makeup that she wears.
  • So in turn, we will buy the lipstick
  • Buying the lipstick and/or lipglass means 100% of the selling price goes to people affected by AIDS
  • Black people, while we account for only 14% of the population, account for 44% of all new HIV infections in the United States. This means that we should have a racial obligation to purchase the shade, because not only would it be cute, but we would be helping our race (right?).
  • But because of the color of this lipstick (white based Lavender), we can’t realistically buy it to wear it. Your average consumer does not have money to waste, which in turn means money that could be made amongst the black market, can’t be, because this shade was not ‘black friendly’. Even Minaj herself looks foolish in the shade:

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I simply could not sit back and let ‘good intentions’ minimize something so deep. The phrase ‘all ages, all races, all sexes’ is vital to the MAC Cosmetics brand. Partnering with a black woman, to attract black consumers will not work if the shades the brand allows her to conceptualize does not compliment their skin tone. This is supposed to be a win-win situation, not solely a moral obligation. I challenged all black women to support MAC, but not support this shade. It’s time that we make it clear that yes, Nicki Minaj is a black woman, but she is a poor representative of who we from an aesthetic standpoint and she is not our standard of beauty.

Instead of purchasing Viva Glam Nicki 2 the day it’s released, take a look at a few of the original Viva Glam shades and buy them instead. Maybe this will make the message clear: “We support your cause, but we do not support your current representative.”

MAC Viva Glam Nicki 2 will be available globally February 9, 2013 at all M·A·C locations, 1.800.588.0070 and www.maccosmetics.com

For more information on the MAC AIDS Fund, click here