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How Much Progress Is the Beauty World Making With Race?

Every day presents an opportunity to look at what we find beautiful, but because today celebrates the life, work, struggles, and successes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I've been thinking a lot lately about race—and more specifically, how our ideas of beauty have (and haven't) progressed since his activist days.

Today, beauty icons are more diverse than they were in King's day. Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Lucy Liu, and Aishwarya Rai can't step on a red carpet without thousands of women wanting to look like them. That's a big improvement from the '60s (just try to find a woman of color in vintage ads).

But at the same time, I can't help but notice that with the exception of a few models like Liya Kebede, Du Juan, Oluchi, and Chanel Iman, women of color haven't exactly been getting a lot of runway time at recent fashion weeks. And I'm amazed that major cosmetic launches don't include foundation for women of color. So I'm curious: How much progress do you think the beauty industry has made?


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