Supermodel Joan Smalls announced that she will be donating half of her 2020 salary to organisations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. On June 11, Joan, who was named one of the world's highest-paid models in 2013 by Forbes, shared a video to her Instagram account in which she opened up about her personal experiences with racism and called out the fashion industry as a whole for promoting racial injustices.
"The recent and long-standing acts against the Black community have been saddening, frustrating and unacceptable," Joan captioned the post. "You fall short trying to narrate our stories by toning us down or having them curated by people who haven't lived or walked a day in our shoes," she added in the video. "It's time to give us a real seat at the table because we are worthy; because we are talented; because we are unique."
"You're part of the culture that perpetuates these conscious behaviours . . . You feed the beast, the beast of racism and inequality."
Joan went on to call out the fashion industry for continuing to support photographers and people within the industry who further perpetuate the inequalities faced by the Black community on a daily basis. "This industry that profits from our black and brown bodies, our culture for constant inspiration, our music and our images for their visuals, has tiptoed around the issues," Joan said. "You're part of the culture that perpetuates these conscious behaviours . . . You feed the beast, the beast of racism and inequality . . . This industry that I love has profited from us but has never considered us equal. This. Stops. Now."
Joan then explained that she wants the industry to step up by implementing policies within companies to promote further racial inclusivity. She also called for the fashion industry to offer its solidarity, funds, and platform to amplify Black voices that need to be heard. "I know I can't just talk about change; I have to be a force for it," she wrote. "I encourage and will continue to encourage brands within this industry to do the same and give back. Let's all be the change we want and need to see."