NYFW: Supermodel Aweng Chuol Speaks On Tokenism In The Fashion And Beauty Industry

NYFW: Supermodel Aweng Chuol Speaks On Tokenism In The Fashion And Beauty Industry

Source: Shannon Finney / Getty

Aweng Chuol is known to make a splash during fashion week. But this time, it’s for a slightly different reason.

The often outspoken supermodel, actress, and advocate took the stage for a live chat during the Black Beauty Roster x L’Oreal Groupe’s Hair and Makeup Equity dinner. She looked fabulous with long cornrows and a body-hugging knit dress. When the conversation turned to tokenism in hair and fashion, Awueng was very direct with the audience, which was mostly made up of beautiful Black women.

“You can’t bring one Black person in a campaign and say ‘we do have the texture,’ and don’t. We are 4A, 4B, 4C, 3A,” Awueng told the crowd about the importance of diversity in beauty according to social media captures from the night. “Like one Black person is not all of us. We’re all different shades, different colors, different textures.”

Source: Shannon Finney / Getty

Cheers, claps, and a resounding “Yesss” erupted from the crowd as Awueng spoke and continued to share her experiences. Though improving, the failure of many mainstream companies to realize the breadth and depth of Black beauty, cultures, textures, and preferences is not new. Nor is their hiring of stylists and creators of color to help them achieve better diversity.

Further, nearly every fashion week, we read about a Black model’s frustration with the lack of knowledgeable stylists, artists, and products when having to perform on one of the largest stages in the world.

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Founded by a Black woman, Black Beauty Roster aims to change the fashion, beauty, and hair industry.

For this reason – and many others – the Black Beauty Roster was born. Founded by Maude Okrah, the Black Beauty Roster focuses on bringing meaningful diversity into the industry through education, advocacy, and opportunity. 

Source: Shannon Finney / Getty

One of the main opportunities it leverages is New York Fashion Week. In September 2023, the organization held a brunch to shed light on topics, and this past week, it held a dinner with Awueng, influencer Jenee TaylorNaeemah LaFondJessica SmallsSheika Daley, Jessica Cruel, and others. Celebrating new textured hair and inclusive policies in SAG-AFTRA’s contract, the evening was filled with purpose, hair and ‘fit slays, and dancing.

Celebrity hairstylist Naeemah LaFond showcased her styling on live models throughout the room. Curled to perfection and primped to the ‘gawds, the models were breathtaking.

“Black Beauty will shake the table every time. We are the reference,” wrote Naeemah on an Instagram recapping the event.

We love it when Black women use their power, voice, and tenacity to change paradigms and shift societal norms. The Black Beauty Roster – and all its fabulousness – is one empowering example. Learn more about Black Beauty Roster and its other initiatives here.


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