In the constantly evolving landscape of fashion bloggers, it sometimes seems like it's nothing but beautiful, able bodied, slim 20-somethings showing off their style.
And, according to one blogger of color, that’s because brands – who often pay influencers to try their products or go on trips – favor a certain look when it comes to working with influencers.
Black influencers are rarely ever invited on influencer trips.— Alicia (@AliciaTenise) June 20, 2019
I’ve started screenshotting every press trip I’ve seen over the last month and the lack of diversity is so upsetting (but not surprising). pic.twitter.com/Zftn8ZBIhD
Alicia Tenise, a fashion and travel blogger, tweeted that “Black influencers are rarely ever invited on influencer trips,” along with some images of press trips she had screenshot to illustrate her point. The women pictured on the press trips are all uniformly white appearing.
Her tweet, which was liked over 12,000 times as of this story, clearly struck a chord. One woman quickly responded that she was fighting this with data, and shared a chart of how much black consumers spent on beauty products, fragrances, food and other branded items that companies work with influencers to grow awareness and sell product.
I’ve been combating this with stats! African Americans spending power is $1.2 trillion and we dominate many categories. It’s advantageous for them to include us to gain the market. But hey, I’m just a woman who knows our worth! pic.twitter.com/eAVWqyTlUw— Safiyyah (@soqweenly) June 20, 2019
Her post was also met with positive feedback from some of the influencers pictured. Emily Wilkinson wrote that she was also appalled by the lack of inclusion, and thanked Tenise for speaking up.
I am always appalled at this too (& I say this as someone whose photo is screenshotted) Thank you for speaking up & sharing your thoughts with brands! I feel like our industry as a whole needs to be much better when it comes to diversity and inclusion 💙😘— Emily Wilkinson (@emilynwilkinson) June 20, 2019
Wilkinson also asked an important question: What can be done to improve the lack of diversity in casting?
And I would love to know what I & other bloggers can do to help improve this diversity/inclusion issue when it comes to brands? Especially when it comes to being invited/going on these trips where I’m unaware of the other invitees (and lack of diversity!)— Emily Wilkinson (@emilynwilkinson) June 20, 2019
Another poster suggested calling out brands and ask how many black or other women of color are being included, calling to mind Frances McDormand’s speech at the 2018 Oscars about inclusion riders.
Maybe ask the brands how diverse the group trip will be when they approach you. That's a start. Let them know that you care about the issue.— Olympia Friday (@olympiafriday) June 20, 2019
Another woman pointed to the clients as a problem, as she claimed to have tried to cast for diversity in ethnicity, size and more in her proposals, only to have brands stick with non-diverse casting for trips and other opportunities.
I worked in the influencer marketing division at a PR firm in NYC. I always made a point to include diversity in ethnicity, size, religious backgrounds, etc in the proposal decks for press trips. Only for the clients to pick the same skinny, blonde girls over and over. :(— Maya Kelley (@TheKelleyDoll) June 20, 2019
That being said, Tenise eventually followed up her original tweet with an update that after calling attention to the issue, two of the brands she called out have reached out to her, and noted that speaking up had made a difference
One quick update: I had a lot of people tell me that black people just weren’t wanted in these spaces.— Alicia (@AliciaTenise) June 21, 2019
I called attention to this issue and I’ve had two of these brands DM me and we’re having a great conversation. Just. Speak. Up.
Other black fashion bloggers have brought this issue to the forefront, with UK based Stephanie Yeboah writing in the Metro that, “it is disturbing to see a continued pattern of blatant sidelining and absence of women of colour in this relatively new industry.”
The reality is, at this time, there aren’t a lot of hard facts or figures surrounding the lack of inclusivity and diversity – whether color, size or able bodied – within the influencer industry. Most of the conversation exists on social media, and will continue to do so until more brands step up and work with a variety influencers.
We’ve reached out to Tenise and will update this story when we hear back.
Read More from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up herefor Yahoo’s newsletter.