In April, the R&B star SZA visited a Sephora store in Calabasas and tweeted that a store employee had “called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing.” SZA was not thrilled about this: “We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy.” The implication, of course, is that no black person — not even a massive star — is safe from being racially profiled while shopping. And given that Sephora, the giant beauty-supplies chain, has been making a big point about its own diversity lately, the store must not have been thrilled, either. Sephora has now gone into full damage-control mode.
The New York Times reports that all Sephora locations will temporarily close tomorrow for “one-hour inclusivity workshop.” The brand also apologized directly and publicly to SZA, claiming that it is “working with our teams to address the situation immediately.” This all coincides with Sephora’s recent “manifesto,” entiled “We Belong to Something Beautiful.” Sephora reps claim that the campaign was being planned before SZA tweeted about her experience at the store: “While it is true that SZA’s experience occurred prior to the launch of the ‘We Belong to Something Beautiful’ campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet. However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever.”
Sephora is owned by the luxury-good corporation Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton LVMH. The same company also owns Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s beauty line, which launched at Sephora. As NBC reports, Rihanna, who has collaborated with SZA, sent SZA a Fenty Beauty gift card, with a handwritten card: “Go buy yo Fenty Beauty in peace sis!” SZA has said that she once worked at a Sephora, back in her pre-fame days.