"Your discomfort needs to stop coming before human life." I shared these words on my personal social media a few days ago. It's taken me a few days to gather my thoughts, to digest everything going on around me, to process how and what I wanted to say to you Kahmunity. Like many of you I've gone through a wave of emotions - sadness, anger, despair, and at many times hope too. The unjust killing of black men and women in America is nothing new but this one feels different.
For those of you who have been following us for a while you'll recall that from day one I've said that "we are more than just a footwear brand." I feel this so strongly this week. If you're here it's likely because you support our mission: to provide a true nude option for women of all skin tones. I want to take this opportunity to dive deeper though.
It's time to call a spade a spade. Racism is real. White supremacy persists and white privilege is woven into almost every aspect of our lives. If such was not the case then Kahmune would not exist.
The color of bandaids, "flesh" crayons, skin tone lingerie, tights, etc. is no coincidence. Someone out there at some point decided that nude, a word synonymous with naked, should cater only to one complexion: a white one. Whole industries for decades have followed suit.
Imagine having the gall to rewrite the definition of a word simply because it worked for you and those around you. Imagine having the gall to redefine a word knowing you wouldn't be challenged. That is privilege.
We need to challenge racism. We need to challenge racial privilege. We need to challenge the ways in which whiteness is given preferential treatment. Most of all, we need our white allies to challenge themselves to do the much needed work to dismantle these systems. Speak to your children. Speak to your colleagues. Speak to your families and friends. Listen. Speak up. Pass the Mic. Un-learn and then re-learn the right way. Helping us redefine nude is a start but there is so much more work that needs to be done.
I hope it goes without saying that here at Kahmune we will always be for black lives. I know my life matters. I'm calling on all of our allies, both white and other persons of color, to step up and do the work with us. It's not going to be easy. Yes, it will be uncomfortable but ask yourself: Is my discomfort worth more than a human life?
As a black woman I saw a problem and decided to fix it for myself and for other black women. I also made the decision to include women of all complexions on this journey and weeks like this reiterate why. I choose to advocate for all. Just because something may not affect us directly does not mean we should sit back and watch our peers suffer. The responsibility is on all of us to create change. This week has shown us that racism is no longer a black/white problem, it's a human problem.
There will be many of you reading this who have always had access to a true nude shoe. If you're here though, I hope it's because you want all women to have the same access. I want to challenge you to the following: Be conscious of where your money is going and the brands and industries you support. Are they actively supporting equality? Are they actively denouncing racism? Or are they conveniently silent? What are they doing to make a difference? Will you continue to purchase your skin tone products from brands that only carry one shade? Or will you make a concerted effort to support the brands that are doing the work to create the change we all want to see. Your voice matters and in many instances so does your money. I hope that not just today, or this week, or while this current outrage continues you will choose to support black business, but at every opportunity moving forward.
The unjust killing of black men and women in America is nothing new but this one feels different.
Let's all do our part to make sure it is.
Please stay safe out there Kahmunity. If you have any suggestions on how we can continue to enact change I'd love to hear from you.
All my best,
Jamela A Acheampong
Founder and Brand Director
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