National retailers pledge more shelf space to black-owned brands, signaling a greater commitment to fighting systemic racism.

WHAT HAPPENED: A viral Instagram post urged major retailers like Target, Walmart and Whole Foods to devote 15% of shelf space to black-owned brands. Sephora U.S. pledged to sign the initiative. The beauty retailer currently sells around 290 brands and nine of them are black-owned.


Adopting this pledge is just the first step in undoing the omnipresent racial disparity within a retail organization. Widespread implementation of the 15% pledge will not only give more black-owned businesses the exposure they need to develop and scale, but it will finally give black voices a seat at the corporate table. In addition to shelf space, Sephora will offer these brands connections to venture capitalists and it promises to involve more women of color in its incubation program.

Making a large one-time donation to a specific cause that combats racial inequality is vital, but the companies that take this moment to overhaul their corporate culture and employee makeup will be better poised to address the root of system racism within the retail world. While this initiative will cost corporations both time and money upfront, it will invest in the black community over the long term. Taking the 15% pledge holds corporate leaders accountable not only to provide black-owned brands with shelf space, but also to provide the resources necessary to succeed in their stores. Initiatives like these will also help to diversify large retailers like Sephora and Walmart by granting more people of color access to leadership positions.