On May 23, cosmetic retailer Sephora announced that it would be closing all of its U.S. stores, as well as its distribution centers and corporate offices, to conduct one-hour inclusivity workshops on the morning of June 5.
The decision stems in part from an April incident involving R&B singer SZA, who claimed she was racially profiled in one of the brand’s California locations. Scroll down for more information about the closures and how Sephora responded to the 28-year-old’s allegations.
Why is Sephora closed?
The beauty chain elected to close approximately 400 stores for an hour on Wednesday to host diversity training for staff following backlash surrounding SZA’s alleged mistreatment at an L.A.-area Sephora. The exact timing of the workshops remains unclear, though many shoppers speculate that a majority of stores will open one hour late.
On April 30, the nine-time Grammy nominee tweeted, "Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing. We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy."
In a follow-up tweet, the songwriter added, "Can a b---h cop her Fenty in peace er whut," referring to Rihanna’s popular Fenty products.
A day later, the company responded to SZA’s post, writing, "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 motto of Sephora’s diversity training is "We Belong to Something Beautiful."
In a statement, the retailer explained that it has been planning these workshops for more than six months.
"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," Sephora claimed. "However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever."
A page on the company’s website dedicated to the newly launched initiative reads: "Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences. We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included."
The brand’s response comes a year after Starbucks shut down more than 8,000 of its locations to conduct racial bias training following the arrest of two black men at a store in Philadelphia. They had been accused of trespassing for sitting in the coffee shop without placing an order.
The men, who were later identified as Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, settled with the city for $2 in exchange for the creation of a $200,000 fund that will be used to assist young entrepreneurs.
"We thought long and hard about it and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see," Donte, who noted that he’s been a Starbucks customer since the age of 15, told The Associated Press. "It's not a right-now thing that's good for right now, but I feel like we will see the true change over time."