On the tail of Amazon docuseries, LuLaRich, comes another on screen deep dive into the dark side of multilevel marketing company, LuLaRoe. This past Monday, Discovery+ released a new documentary, “The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe,” which Rolling Stone Magazine reports will focus solely on those behind the scenes of the business, including independent sales reps, factory workers, and the marketing teams responsible for putting on the company’s well known massive events. The documentary also shines a dim light on the roles Black people specifically played, and just how they were taken advantage of.
One character in particular, Elijah Tucker, was discovered by LuLaRoe leaders as he was performing a Michael Jackson dance routine for his family while on a beach vacation trip. The man playing the music nearby and watching, later approached Tucker.
“He said, ‘Hey — if I give you $100, will you wear some female leggings and come and do the same thing you just did tomorrow morning at this business meeting?’” Tucker recalls.
The proposed meeting the man was referring to was a corporate event being hosted by LuLaRoe. Tucker excitedly showed up to perform for the largely white audience swimming in a sea of mixed prints and patterns.
“Being on stage and looking out in the audience — everybody was twins,” he mentioned in the doc. “Not gonna lie: everybody had that joy on, and everyone was rocking leggings.”
“I may have gotten taken advantage of a few times,” he recalled at one point. “I definitely endured some sort of racism.”
Tucker continued performing at LuLaRoe events and became so wrapped up in the company that both his sister as well as his mother eventually became independent sales reps – two of very few Black consultants for a business that mainly attracts and sells to middle aged white women.
Business coach Vivian Kaye who was interviewed for the documentary, describes the slim participation of Black women throughout LuLaRoe as “seasoning”. While the entrepreneur has the viewpoint of an outsider looking in, with no affiliation to the company, her assessment is spot on. Kaye mentions that the use of Black vernacular on the company’s social media pages and throughout their events is a form of Blackfishing. Several posts curated by white sales reps feature the greeting, “Hey girl, hey!” as an intro to their sales videos.
“That’s fine, if you want to use Black vernacular — I’m not the vernacular police,” Kaye stated in the interview. “But it’s not reflected in their downline. It’s not reflected on their stages when they hold these major events. I have a problem with it because they’re using the Black vernacular to profit, but we’re not profiting off of it because we’re only there for seasoning, so that they could tell the world ‘Yes, we’re diverse.’”
Elijah Tucker did eventually leave the company, but in the documentary, he expressed gratitude for his time spent at LuLaRoe. “I’m where I wanted to be,” he explained. “I’m living my dream, and I’ve dealt with [racism] in my life. It’s nothing new. It’s gonna be everywhere you go like, there’s always somebody that hates you. I was so grateful for the opportunity just to be there.”