Sharon Chuter Is Calling Out Performative Activism One IG Post at a Time

Sharon Chuter Is Calling Out Performative Activism One IG Post at a Time

6/11/2021 12:25:00 AM

Sharon Chuter Is Calling Out Performative Activism One IG Post at a Time

Sharon Chuter talks to ELLE.com about how far Pull Up For Change has come in the past year, and where it's going next.

Hey, companies, fix it.We're jumping in because we want to hold you accountable, but we also want to help you and also help in any other way that we can to start addressing and creating solutions,” she explains. I end the convo with a straightforward question: What are your plans to keep your foot on these companies’ necks? Chuter’s response and more, below.

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As you celebrate the first anniversary of Pull Up For Change, how has the initial mission evolved?The mission was retrospective because, at first, all I wanted to do was make these companies come to the table. There was no plan to continue an organization. There was no plan to do anything else other than that. Let's set a new standard of accountability and transparency. At that very start, there was no strategy, no plan, no future. And then it took taking a step back to go,"

Okay. Hey, how do we keep this going?I continue to advocate for the economic wellbeing of Black communities all over the world because, for me, liberation for us looks like economic liberation. I've always advocated for the economic world of Black communities. That becomes at the forefront of everything Pull Up For Change does. We are here to continue to advocate, enhance the economic wellbeing of black communities, and close the gap that huge margin exists between other communities and us. And we have to do that from a financial perspective, which is where corporate comes in. headtopics.com

From a retail consumer perspective, I've seen many companies spotlight Black businesses through online exclusives over store shelf space? How do you feel about this retail method?It's just for tick-boxing. Where's the support? I saw one brand that I won't call by name, but they launched at a major retailer, and they were so excited, but I'm like that retailer didn't even announce it. They didn't even do one post on their social media page. There is no money, no investment. All these retailers, a lot of them are just tick-boxing. When we are contacted for retail partnerships, we say,"No," to many of them.

The second you want to see my brand for what it is, and beyond my skin color, we're ready to talk.I'm not here to be your negro. I'm not here to be your token deal so that you can check a corporate tick-box. I'm not here to be your ethnic aisle. I'm not here to be your Black founder section. Save it for somebody else. The second you want to see my brand for what it is, and beyond my skin color, we're ready to talk.

How do you know when the right deal comes along?I'm always looking at the retailers and whether our vision matches each other. The second part is to ensure that we have the tenacity and the endurance because not everything goes how we think they're going to go. It's essential to have retail partners that are there for the long haul. That's when long-term planning is crucial because if you have super fleeting retailers, the second your numbers even dip, you're gone. So it's waiting on the retailers who believe in the system, believe in the process, they genuinely believe in the long-term viability of it all. They understand that it's not a sprint, it's a marathon, and the price at the end is great for all. I partner with the people who are willing to support me, not in a superficial way but in a more profound, meaningful way.

In the last year, what was the biggest revelation?In the last year, the biggest revelation was not necessarily the number of people released but how lost people are when finding solutions. It seems evident to us, but at a point, I was like,"You must be making this stuff up." This can't be that hard. These companies have this fear, this absolute morbid fear, that they're going to get it wrong, and they're going to get dragged and, in the process, keep thinking one bad idea to the other. That's why I knew very quickly that we have to go beyond just holding people accountable and genuinely helping these people because, for some reason, it seems like we're a species that just appeared on the face of the planet last year. Everybody's trying to figure it out. You see things like Old Navy with the Juneteenth campaign. How many teachable moments do we need to have? Do we have to have a quota per month in terms of teachable moments per month? headtopics.com

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But how do you walk the line between teaching them and not doing the work for them?It's in the style of teaching. I think you have to put yourself in a facilitator position where you're facilitating dialogue. You're facilitating action. And the second you start saying over and over again,"These people are not prepared for action," you better pack your bag and walk away, so you're not wasting good energy on bad people. There have been many projects I started with people, and I packed up and left. Bye. I'm not going to do this because you're not prepared. I don't do performative. Period.

What plans do you have to keep your foot on these companies' necks?We've sent out templates of our Diversity Reporting to every company to complete. We continue to be vocal about where it matters and where it's going to make a difference. We're coming back to announce many of our marquee programs for our first anniversary, like the pitch contest. We get to pull up everybody again and show the public the numbers. Hopefully, we start sharing some data with people and launching our brand new website. There's a lot of excitement, but we're staying on it. I always said It's not a moment, it's a movement. Consistency is key.

It's not a moment, it's a movement.Assistant EditorNerisha is the assistant editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty and fashion.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

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Sharon Chuter Is Calling Out Performative Activism One IG Post at a TimeSharon Chuter talks to ELLE.com about how far Pull Up For Change has come in the past year, and where it's going next.

Sharon Chuter Is Calling Out Performative Activism One IG Post at a TimeSharon Chuter talks to ELLE.com about how far Pull Up For Change has come in the past year, and where it's going next.

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Sharon Chuter Is Calling Out Performative Activism One IG Post at a TimeSharon Chuter talks to ELLE.com about how far Pull Up For Change has come in the past year, and where it's going next.

Sharon Chuter Is Calling Out Performative Activism One IG Post at a TimeSharon Chuter talks to ELLE.com about how far Pull Up For Change has come in the past year, and where it's going next.