An Open Letter To Brands…
Over the past few days, there has been a flood of support to the black community in the form of social media posts and press statements. As an agency whose sole purpose is to represent the underrepresented, we think it is our responsibility to hold you all accountable for everything you have chosen to say during this time.
VAMP has been active since early 2017 and during our time we have knocked on many doors and have had many doors shut in our face due to lack of importance placed on the support of black content creators and black consumers. We have literally fought our way into the industry by constantly having to prove ourselves and often being underpaid whilst doing so.
This letter is not about us as a business but about what has been said in your statements and what happens next. This letter is to hold you accountable and to demand you play your part in helping to achieve equality as a community by treating all influencers fairly. Behaviour, pay and support are all things that need to be reviewed and changed immediately. Pay black influencers equally to white influencers, support them by using them as catalysts for marketing and not just in the form of gifting and expecting them to promote to their engaged and influential community for free. We ask you to acknowledge the role you play in the pay gap in the influencer industry and the detrimental effects it has had and will continue to have on an already problematic industry.
We have met with diversity departments at some of the biggest brands in Europe and the lack of investment in the black community from hiring to media spend has been tiring to experience. We are tired of walking into offices and not feeling represented or understood and constantly having to fight for representation and diversity in campaigns.
It’s time to be practical about diversity in the UK and not just by holding events to speak about it. It’s time to support, nurture and actively look for black talent, not only by offering low/unpaid internships or junior roles but fostering growth into positions of leadership and empowerment.
We are in the process of producing a report to highlight black and mixed-race buying power in the UK. With over 1000 responses already, our data can support marketing strategy to the underserved black community and will help us prove what we have been fighting for over the past few years.
We implore brands to understand the importance of authentic representation and its power to educate and positively influence how the public think and behave towards the black community. With 6 months left of the year, use the rest of 2020 to make long-lasting cultural changes internally and externally.
We hope the support we’ve seen the last few days extends far beyond this period and becomes embedded within the industry.
Christina, Ruby and Rumbi