Sephora will close more than 400 stores in the U.S. on Wednesday for diversity training, a decision that comes after singer SZA said she was racially profiled at one of the beauty retailer’s locations.
“On the morning of 6/5, every Sephora store, distribution center, and corporate office in the US will close to host inclusion workshops for our employees,” the company posted on Facebook. “These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen.”
The workshops are part of the beauty retailer’s new campaign, “We Belong to Something Beautiful.” It includes a video Sephora posted on its website and social media platforms that says the company “believes in championing all beauty” in a community where “diversity is expected, self-expression is honored” and “all are welcomed.”
On April 30, R&B singer SZA tweeted that she was shopping for Fenty Beauty products at a Sephora in Calabasas, California, when an employee she dubbed “Sandy Sephora” reportedly called security to check if she was stealing.
Born Solána Rowe, SZA had starred in a Fenty Beauty lipstick campaign in 2017, when Rihanna launched the cosmetics line geared toward inclusivity of all skin tones. The brand is found at Sephora and Harvey Nichols stores.
Rihanna, born Robyn Fenty, sent a gift card and a handwritten note to SZA after the incident that said, “Go buy yo’ Fenty Beauty in peace sis! One love, Rihanna,” according to NBC.
Sephora responded to the Grammy-nominated singer’s tweet by apologizing and acknowledging that SZA once worked at the retailer.
“You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores,” the company tweeted.
The singer’s complaint sparked a Twitter discussion the next day about the history of racial profiling black people face in various settings.
At the time of the complaint, Sephora told HuffPost that the company’s “purpose has always been rooted in our people and ensuring that Sephora is an inclusive and welcoming space for all our clients.”
The company stressed this week to HuffPost that, although the diversity campaign comes after the singer’s incident, the initiative has been in the works for over a year and is not in direct response to SZA’s complaint.
“While it is true that SZA’s experience occurred prior to the launch of the ‘We Belong to Something Beautiful’ campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet. However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever,” the company said in a statement. “Our entire organization is excited to set aside this time to re-commit to building an environment of inclusion. ... This week marks the first step in our journey, and with the goal of ensuring everyone feels welcome in the beauty category, we hope the We Belong to Something Beautiful helps further foster that belief, for the benefit of our clients, for the betterment of the industry and our communities at large.”
This article has been updated with comment from Sephora.