This makeup brand’s “tribute” is more of a crass promotion, critics say.
Makeup brand the Crayon Case kicked off Black History Month with a Kobe Bryant-inspired makeup challenge that many are calling tone-deaf.
“Let’s start this challenge with a special tribute to Kobe Bryant. One of history’s greatest basketball players! We send our love to all family and friends [affected] by this devastation,” the New Orleans-based cosmetics company wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post, the Daily Dot reports. The post then suggests the colors purple, blue, yellow and brown next to a photo of the late Bryant, and asks participants to tag #TheCrayonCaseBHC in their posts.
The brand is being accused of using Bryant’s Jan. 26 death at 41 in a helicopter crash — which also took the lives of his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others — to promote its products.
“I’m sorry but this ain’t it, this tragedy shouldn’t be turned into a ‘makeup challenge’ to get noticed by a brand,” one critic tweets in a post that has gotten over 13,000 likes.
“This is just so distasteful. Wow,” responds another.
To add insult to injury, the Daily Dot reports that some users began tagging Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, 37, in their makeup posts.
Following the backlash, the Crayon Case published a response, emphasizing its good intentions with the challenge. “I’d like to clarify our actions by launching our Black History challenge,” begins the post, before denying that the challenge had any promotional purpose. “This is not connected to any sale or promotion of our products. We will continue to pray for the families and friends of those involved in the tragic event. We love you!”
Some came to the brand’s defense.
“It’s not an ad to buy something. Crayon Case is black owned and they’re doing a black history month challenge and they are dedicating day 1 to Kobe,” writes a defender. “They aren’t selling anything just saying ‘do a Kobe inspired look and tag us’. People gotta stop looking for things to be mad about.”