It’s not every day that a beauty company launches a product, only to be met by a strong backlash. On the surface, Tarte’s release of a new 15-shade foundation line, with 2 darker colors, looked normal. After all, this is exactly what the beauty industry has been doing for decades, releasing products aimed primarily at light-skinned women.
However, this time, BIPOC women were not having it anymore. There was a huge buzz on social media regarding the lineup's lack of diversity for people of color. And in the noise, one voice was especially strong and stood out, it was the voice of Jackie Aina.
Who Is Jackie Aina?
Jackie Aina is an African-American content creator who primarily posts on YouTube. Her mother is also African-American, while her father is Nigerian. Jackie created her YouTube channel while she was in the military. Her marriage wasn’t going too well, and making videos gave her a creative escape from her relationship.
This was way back in 2009, back when being a “YouTuber” wasn’t a career path yet. Instead, Jackie went on here to enjoy herself and help other women of color with their makeup.
“A lot of what I saw at that time were white women or Asian women doing looks,” Jackie told Yahoo News, “I was re-creating them and making them dark skin-friendly on me.” However, she was constantly frustrated whenever she wanted to recreate a trendy look, only to be told that the look wouldn’t work with her complexion.
Unlike some YouTubers who go viral with their first video, Jackie’s career was more of a slow grind. Her first video went largely unnoticed, as did a lot of her following videos.
Jackie began finding an audience when she started creating makeup tutorials for women of color. Again, back in 2009, this was not common, so she was starting to gain an audience. But she really began to gain a strong following when she started speaking out against discrimination in the beauty industry.
Jackie was one of the first content creators to speak up about this. And by doing so, millions of black women felt heard and seen by her words. Plus, her fun videos, humor, and wittiness all made her easy to be a fan of.
Her channel blew up in 2018 when Tarte released its Shape Tape Foundation. Jackie created a video reacting to the lack of diversity in their lineup, and it now has over 5.5 million views on YouTube.
Jackie Aina’s Advocacy
Fame didn’t change Jackie. Too many promising voices falter when big career and monetary opportunities arise. But Jackie stayed true to her message that too many cosmetic brands do not think about women of color when creating their products.
She’s been very critical of popular brands. And because she refuses to back down, her sponsorship opportunities are not as plentiful as other creators who pander to big brands.
However, her authenticity and her courage to stick to her message have also tremendously grown her audience. People are drawn to her bravery, and can relate every time she speaks out against discrimination in the cosmetics industry.