Joan Smalls calls out the fashion industry for its silence amid the Black Lives Matter movement

And her feelings of anguish have only grown in the wake of the killings of Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, which ignited demonstrations across the globe, demanding accountability for their murders and an end to systemic racism. Indeed, the Puerto Rico-born model has experienced discrimination throughout her career, but after witnessing the lack of support from the fashion community, the lack of real solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement, she felt compelled to raise her voice. Being in confinement has made me reflect on what actually matters—which is progress and seeing others achieve greatness.” Smalls is taking to her Instagram account to reprove those that have remained silent during a time when thewhole world is looking for reform. An industry that profits from our Black and Brown bodies, our culture for constant inspiration, our music (that continues to glorify these brands), and our images for their visuals has tiptoed around the issue at hand. Many of you who claim to be all about “diversity and inclusivity” jumped on a bandwagon, because social media held you accountable for your lack of acknowledgment of us, and you hid behind your aesthetic of creativity or so-called beauty. Sadly, you fall short trying to narrate our stories by toning us downor having them curated by people who haven’t lived our experiences or walked a day in our shoes. Idon’t need validation from an industry that casts me as the token Black girl while ignoring my whole cultural identity as a proud Latina as well. What I do need is recognition ofthesystemic issues—the issues that arise from top to bottom within the industry, from photographers not wanting to shoot me because there was no need to shoot a Black girl to themagazines,brands, andagencies who continue to work with people of that mindset. Just like stylists and casting directors not willing to treat us fairly and give us a chance, yet you, theindustry,continuetoemploy them. A post shared by Joan Smalls (@joansmalls) on Jun 11, 2020 at 6:12am PDT With this same breath, I would love to acknowledge the few who did see me for me, who fought for me. Brands have continually let us down with their insensitivity and tone-deafness, and the damage control apologies of “We will do better.” My reply to you is: This is your chance! I’ve seen many people who miraculously developed empathy, yet when they are behind closed doors, they are a part of the group holding us back. I back up these statements and calls for change by pledging to donate 50 per cent of my income for the remainder of 2020 to organisations that support the Black Lives Matter movement. I willbecurating a talent list of models, hairstylists, makeup artists, and other creatives and people of colour within the industry who can help diversify all brands.