Get Olivela to take REAL action in the fight for Black Lives
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Olivela is a company that claims to be “designer fashion for good,” but it’s clear that the only good this company is doing is gaining good publicity for their founder Stacey Boyd. On the “our story” section of their site, Boyd exemplifies white saviorism with a thoughtless story about her time in Kenya, recanting her memory of “reaching into her bag to take a picture and realiz[ing] that a fraction of the cost of her bag could send one of these girls to school for a year.” Instead of openly acknowledging their company’s current and former wrong doings, Boyd released another statement further centering herself and exposing the white supremacy their company favors.
This statement is just another example of a publicity stunt from a business in the fashion and beauty industries. Boyd immediately centers herself at the top of this statement. She doesn’t capitalize Black, but she later capitalizes African American, a common point made by Black activists and educators, which clearly shows she did not consult with the Black community before making this statement. After mentioning her team, we are wondering if the Black folks at Olivela had a chance to review this, did she do this on her own with a team of white c-level leaders, or are there just no Black folks at Olivela at all? Boyd continues, acknowledging only men and women, when Black NBGNC folks are often most at risk with their trans brothers and sisters in the Black community. Clearly not all Black lives matter to Boyd.
We want to make clear that donating money does not “right inequities,” rather it’s the bare minimum a company with a valuation & funding of $35M should do. The two groups Boyd mentions are groups with white founders, and Olivela was already donating to them before these protests began, so no new action has been taken by Olivela, yet Boyd wants credit for helping the Black community. She totes the 14th amendment, but does not mention her support of the 1st, one that has been violated by states and 45 as protestors put their lives on the line every day during this pandemic. She uses the classic “creed” line, then citing her belief in the goodness of everyone. Does that include the police? Boyd wants to “hold them accountable” but cannot even type the words “police accountability”, “systemic racism”, or “white supremacy”. This is like someone apologizing without ever saying the words “I’m sorry.”
Boyd continues to display white saviorism when mentioning African girls. Her white guilt has her searching for a situation she has seen first hand and yet all she can come up with is relating the struggles of Black folks in America to the poverty she saw in Africa. Does she know that there are many areas of the continent where the different countries have thriving culture and economies? Yet she chooses to represent all Africans as poor and in need of her help. She should look at the work of @nowhitesaviors. She acknowledges her privilege as “luck,” not the systemic oppression of Black people. And we’re not even sure where the ableist “blindness” comment came from. Boyd ends with her “pounding fists...demanding change”, and we want to know what this tangibly means. Whose table is she pounding on?
We are calling for Boyd to acknowledge this racist, transphobic, ableist statement using those terms. Olivela should donate its proceeds to an organization that is directly supporting the Black community specifically. We want to know what Boyd’s employees think about this statement and if their voices were actually heard. We ask that Boyd hire Black educators to conduct training for her and her entire company immediately before they continue to do harm. Show us your c-level officers, your board, and your investors. Mute your ads. Look at your feed. Look at the companies you work with. Donate a sum of money, not just from future profit, to a Black led organization today. Publicly mention the events and campaigns you’ve held in which you’ve not hired Black people. Actually admit your wrong doing or just don’t make a comment at all.
We have tried to contact Olivela several times through email and Instagram since the statement was shared on June 5th. We have received no response.
We cannot let companies continue to co-opt this movement for their financial gain.
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