In the coming weeks, The Root will unveil the 2021 class of The Root 100, our highly anticipated annual list of the most influential African Americans. As our regular readers know, it’s not our only list celebrating Black excellence; we also recognize our favorite tastemakers via The Glow Up 50 and up-and-comers through The Future 25 (formerly the Young Futurists)—not to mention The Blackest Awards, fondly known as the “Skippies.”
In short, we love a list; particularly one that’s Blackity-Black.
Clearly, we’re not alone; Ulta Beauty recently introduced its list of “100 inspiring Black voices in beauty,” the MUSE100. Named for its MUSE platform, recently launched to “Magnify, Uplift, Support and Empower Black voices in beauty, the MUSE 100 is another tangible way the leading retailer is actively working to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion,” according to a press release provided to The Glow Up.
“We understand our responsibility to inspire positive change and drive greater diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry,” said Dave Kimbell, CEO of Ulta. “The MUSE 100 champions those who have succeeded in making so much beauty possible, those who represent the future and those who have inspiring stories that deserve to be shared and supported. We are proud to honor and uplift these 100 Muses and hope others find inspiration in learning their stories while celebrating with us.”
“The MUSE 100 recognizes a variety of merits including vision, leadership, and the ability to stimulate change, uphold values and champion inclusivity,” the release stated, further explaining that the list’s 100 “beauty brand founders, makeup artists, activists, authors and more,” were each reviewed and selected by the Ulta Beauty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Counsel with input from “industry leaders.” Those leaders included Ulta’s DE&I adviser and Pattern Beauty founder Tracee Ellis Ross, who is also a 2021 TGU50 honoree, as is fellow adviser Cosmopolitan Beauty Director Julee Wilson. Other listmakers included entrepreneur and co-founder of Melanin Haircare Whitney White and celebrity stylist Mecca James Williams. Together, they identified 100 luminaries across six categories: “Makeup Magicians,” “Well Makers,” “Story Shifters,” “Executive Excellency,” “Fearless Founders” and “The Next Gen Muses.”
“I’m excited and consistently encouraged by Ulta Beauty’s continued commitments,” said Ellis Ross in a statement. “The MUSE 100 demonstrates a significant evolution of Ulta Beauty’s mission to uplift Black voices. By shining a light on these inspiring changemakers, we empower Black communities and continue the important work of fostering foundational change.”
Much to our delight, many of the list’s honorees are luminaries The Root has also honored across our lists, including previous The Root 100 honorees Bea Dixon, Matthew A. Cherry, Keah Brown, and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and Future 25 honoree Marley Dias, one of Ulta’s Next Gen Muses.
Then, there are the bevy of TGU50 honorees who also made Ulta’s list: makeup artist and model Raisa Flowers; celebrity hairstylists Vernon François, Felicia Leatherwood and Lacy Redway; CEO of CurlBox Myleik Teele; fashion and beauty editor and influencer Kahlana Barfield Brown; founder and CEO of Harlem Fashion Row, Brandice Daniel; influencer and body positivity activist Gabi Gregg; CEO and co-founder of Golde, Trinity Mouzon Wofford; photographer, director & founder of TONL and Street Etiquette, Joshua Kissi; publicist and co-founder of Black in Fashion Council, Sandrine Charles; Founder and CEO of UOMA Beauty and Pull Up for Change, Sharon Chuter; fashion model and advocate Bethann Hardison; Creative director of Brother Vellies and founder of the 15 Percent Pledge Aurora James; social media consultant and founder of Black in Corporate Candace Marie; and founder and CEO of Bevel and Walker & Company Brands, Tristan Walker, also a 2017 The Root 100 honoree.
In addition to the honor, each of the MUSE 100's stories will be featured on the Ulta website and social channels; as the release explains, they also each receive a $10,000 grant “to accelerate their continued impact and influence.” Those funds are in addition to the $25 million DE&I commitment made by Ulta earlier this year. You can view the entire list on the MUSE 100 website—and keep an eye out for the 2021 class of The Root 100, dropping soon.