A four-time Grand Slam champion now has gold on her mind. Naomi Osaka, currently the highest female paid athlete, has now made good on her recent tease to “watch this space”; on Tuesday morning, it was reported that the tennis phenom, who already has partnerships with Nike and Louis Vuitton, will soon launch a skincare line designed with melanated skin in mind.
As reported by Business of Fashion:
Osaka, who is of Japanese and Haitian descent, is launching Kinló, a line of sun and skin care specifically formulated to meet the needs of darker-skinned people, who have been underserved by the broader market. (“Kin” means “gold” in Japanese, “ló” means “gold” in Haitian Creole.)
Though the line reportedly won’t drop until Fall 2021, Business of Fashion (BoF) rightly notes the market is ripe for products—much like those offered by Shontay Lundy’s pioneering Black Girl Sunscreen and last year’s collaboration between Venus Williams’ EleVen and clean beauty brand Credo—that offer skin protection for darker skin. While Black people are less at risk from melanoma (and not enough research has been done on skin cancer and Black people), the deadliest form of skin cancer, in the United States alone, 33 percent of Black people diagnosed with melanoma will die within fine years, according to the CDC. While this reflects other disparities in how cancer endangers our communities and dispelling any notion that melanin is somehow innate protection from the sun’s damaging effects.
“What drew me towards this project is having memories of being a kid and not knowing how to protect my skin,” Osaka told BoF. “I only started wearing sunscreen recently.”
While the financial terms of Osaka’s partnership—inked with the Los Angeles-based A Frame Brands, were not disclosed, what we do know is that she will serve as chief executive on an operating team of 11, in which A Frame’s CEO Ari Bloom will be the only white and male-identifying executive, acting as chairman. Actor-entrepreneur Hill Harper is also in the mix as a partner at A Frame, which reportedly plans to soon launch another celeb-driven line for babies of color.
“We’re focused on building brands for people that need them the most,” Bloom told BoF.
Tennis great Billie Jean King is also among the investors in Osaka’s upcoming line, while dermatologist Dr. Naana Boakye, who specializes in darker skin tones, has been onboarded to help develop a line that is both effective and safe.
More details, from BoF:
The first range, priced under $20 per item, includes an SPF 40 tinted face lotion that also protects against blue light, an SPF 50 tinted face lotion formulated specifically for activity, restorative body spray, recovery lip balm and recovery eye cream. Each product is formulated to address the needs of people with more melanin in their skin, something that many product lines simply ignore. For instance, the tinted formula promises to blend without residue.
“For me, this project is something that requires more than just being a spokesperson,” said Osaka. “This is a public health need. I used to tell people that I didn’t need to wear sunscreen—but even if you have melanin, you need to take care of your skin, and I am passionate about that.”