To our readers—
We want to be completely upfront with you about the work we’ve been doing as a team in light of the recent acts of hate against the Black community—from George Floyd to Breonna Taylor to the many, many other Black people who have been persecuted and killed for the color of their skin. But this is not solely about recent events. It's about realizing the countless micro-aggressions those of us in privileged positions have inflicted throughout the years. It's about our previous lack of accountability in prioritizing diversity both on our site and internally in who we hire. This is our pledge to stop that right now, today, and every day after that.
Our Diversity Pledge
We have always said we stand on the side of equality and inclusivity, but our practices have not always lived up to that standard. We have preached “diversity” as an overarching goal to strive for, but did not always back it with concrete action. That stops today.
To our loyal readers and new readers (welcome!), know this: We’re sorry it’s taken us so long, but we will not be vague anymore. We will be upfront and transparent with the steps we’re taking to make diversity, inclusivity, and representation our number-one priority.
Ahead, you’ll find the terms of our Diversity Pledge—a promise in detailed terms that you can hold us accountable for (and trust that we’ll be doing the same). We know the power of the beauty industry, its influence, and its not-so-pretty reputation. We can do better—we must do better—when it comes to representation, and we promise to lead the way, now and moving forward. We will be updating this list constantly with our progress and new initiatives (we already have a few that we’re so excited to share with you).
Throughout all of our conversations, one thing we all agreed on was this: We cannot, and will not, go back to the way things were.
Note: In the list below, our definition of “diverse” refers to diversity of race, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, body type, and ability.
We are sharing updates on the action items in our pledge starting from October 1, 2021—the start of the quarter—and we will continue to share updates every quarter. For questions or concerns about this report (or updates in-between our quarterly reports), please reach out to our associate editorial director, Hallie Gould (email@example.com). We would love to hear from you.
We pledge to include at least 50% diverse individuals in new roundups featuring influencers, editors, makeup artists, hairstylists, and skincare experts moving forward.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: 100% of our new roundups featuring influencers, editors, makeup artists, hairstylists, and skincare experts include at least 50% diverse individuals.
We pledge to include at least 50% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) individuals in newly-published hair and makeup galleries.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: 83% of our newly-published hair and makeup galleries feature at least 50% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) individuals. For those galleries that did not meet the pledge, a variety of diverse images were unavailable for those specific topics. If you disagree with our assertion and find any galleries that are not as diverse as they could be, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
We will include a wide range of hair types and textures in new hairstyle roundups.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: 80% of our newly published hair galleries feature a wide range of hair types and textures. For those galleries that did not meet the pledge, a variety of diverse images were unavailable. If you disagree with our assertion and find any galleries that are not as diverse as they could be, please reach out to email@example.com and let us know.
In accordance with the 15% Pledge started by Aurora James, we pledge that 15% of products across our newly-published market roundups will be Black-founded and/or Black-owned brands. We also pledge to proactively call-in, test and prioritize Black-founded and/or Black-owned brands for our Beauty Awards and ensure at least 15% of the winners are Black-founded and/or Black-owned.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: 100% of our newly-published articles are in accordance with the 15% Pledge started by Aurora James, where 15% of products across our newly published market roundups will be Black-founded and/or Black-owned brands.
Starting today, we will not feature brands that do not use any BIPOC in their campaign imagery, website, or Instagram. If there is a brand we love that does not prioritize diversity, we will actively ask them to change—otherwise they will not be featured on Byrdie.
- Update as of September 30, 2021: This quarter, we did not encounter any new opportunities to challenge any brands.
We pledge to list complexion product shade ranges from dark to light and we will prioritize selecting darker shades for product images to more accurately represent our readership. We will always do our due diligence when featuring a complexion product—if it does not have a wide shade range, we will be transparent and mention it in our coverage.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: We have continued to list complexion product shade ranges from dark to light and we have prioritized selecting darker shades for product images to more accurately represent our readership. If you discover a story that fails to do so, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for this to be remediated.
We are actively working on updating all existing articles in our library with the above points in mind. This project includes updates and rewrites by in-house editors, as well as reviews and remediations by the Anti-Bias Review Board. (Our Anti-Bias Review Board is a group of individuals hired specifically to check for representation issues, bias, and problematic language relating to personal background, stereotypes, gender, and race.)
- Update as of December 31, 2021: To date, more than 600 articles have been completed in D&I projects.
We pledge to thoroughly research Black hairstyles, makeup looks, and beauty practices, understanding their roots and meaning throughout history, and to avoid incorrect attribution and appropriation. We will actively put in the work to further our personal knowledge of Black experts and beauty topics. If a Black person has a beauty question, our editors should be able to answer it. We know this is our editorial responsibility.
- Update as of September 30, 2021: This quarter, our team of editors and contributors researched and wrote about topics including the history of the hair typing system, the impact of the Pull Up or Shut Up campaign one year later, and how the hairstylist behind The Harder They Fall drew on African influences to create the film’s memorable looks.
We will continue to actively prioritize hiring diverse contributors to share their voice on our platform, and not just on topics having to do with their background or race.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: In a survey administered mid-2021, 27% of our contributors identified as BIPOC. (Note: 43% of contributors chose not to identify.)
We pledge to never retouch or edit photos of our writers, contributors, and/or product testers to ensure real skin tone and texture are always represented.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: We continue to publish only unretouched photos of our writers, editors, contributors, and/or product testers.
We pledge to explore and develop a partnership with a brand or organization that promotes diversity and inclusivity within the beauty industry by the end of 2021.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: We are reaching out to organizations to discuss how we can partner in a way that meets their needs.
We pledge to make our Instagram grid an inspiration board of inclusive images of beauty. We will do this by including at least one image of diverse beauty (defined as skin tone, skin and hair texture, age, ability and gender identity) in every three posts to ensure that anywhere you look on our grid, there will be diverse representation.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: 98% of sets of three posts meet our 1:3 diverse beauty images goal.
We pledge to prioritize regramming content from diverse creators (defined as those showing diversity in skin tone, skin and hair texture, age, ability and gender identity) and prominently credit them for every post.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: 48% of our regrams this quarter have come from Black creators, who have been prominently credited for their work within our posts.
We pledge to host Instagram takeovers that feature diverse industry professionals and talent multiple times a week so our audience sees all representations of beauty.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: We featured takeovers from diverse talent throughout all 12 weeks of the quarter.
In our Insta-Try series, we will feature people with a wide range of skin tones and perspectives.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: 100% of the Instagram stories as part of our Insta-Try series have featured individuals with a wide range of skin tones and perspectives.
There will always be multiple BIPOC on set for any Byrdie shoot, either in front of the camera or on the production or creative teams.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: Our Winter Issue featuring Kehlani consisted of a creative team with several BIPOC individuals.
We will prioritize booking diverse talent for covers, features, and interviews.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: 77% of our covers, features, and interviews have featured diverse individuals.
Byrdie editors will never participate in a panel that doesn’t involve diverse perspectives and multiple BIPOC.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: Our team members did not participate in any panels during Q4 2021.
We will prioritize diversifying our in-house team immediately, starting with currently open positions. This is long overdue.
- Update as of December 31, 2021: Currently, 28% of our in-house team self-identifies as BIPOC.
We promise to uphold the actions in our Diversity Pledge above to the absolute best of our ability, and admit failures along the way if we ever fall short. To monitor our progress, we will be sharing updates on specific action items with you every quarter. From today onward, we will be unapologetic about prioritizing voices that have not been represented in mainstream media and accountable for the ways we’ve fallen short. From today onward, we will be loud.
Thank you for being a loyal reader of Byrdie, and thank you for speaking and sharing your stories, ideas, and voices with us. We hope you continue to do so.