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BlackUp, the First Black-Owned Luxury Cosmetic Line, Heads to Sephora Without Its Black Owner

Avatar • Oct 5, 2015

Blackup Cosmetics, the first luxury makeup line for women of color is now available on Sephora.com and select Sephora stores and we’re here for it. What we’re not so thrilled about is the fact that it might no longer be black owned.

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Cosmetics lines that cater to Black and Brown women aren’t new.  Black Radiance, Shea Moisture, Black Opal, Iman and Covergirl’s Queen collection are just a few brands that dominate the black makeup scene in the drugstores.

BlackUp Cosmetics, however is the first luxury cosmetics line that offers an array of  beauty options for black women. According to their website, “BlackUp was founded in 1999 by an African makeup artist, and  is the first dedicated upscale beauty brand to magnify black and mixed beauties.”

However, there has been some contention about whether or not BlackUp is still a black-owned business. It has been reported that founding African make-up artist, Fabrice Mahabo was wrongly booted from his own company. A timeline, created by Blaq Vixen Beauty details the events that led up to his mysterious exit:

blackup cosmetics not black-owned timeline

The black beauty community has been singing the praises of BlackUp cosmetics for years. Keep in mind that this line may not be for everyone. As a luxury brand, the prices range from $12.50 for nail lacquers to $43 for foundation; lipsticks are priced at $23.

For more on Blackup check out Maria Antoinette’s review and demo:

Do you think you’ll try Blackup Cosmetics?

 

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About Lisa Jean Francois

I'm a Lipstick-obsessed Journalist and Fashion Blogger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube channel swatching lippies and strutting around in 5-inch heels. I'm a also a brand coach, specializing in video marketing and digital brand development. Find me @lisaalamode.

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Chrystal DavisAdriannan NonyoDeeMinimal | AssemblyCharlena Thompson Recent comment authors
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maji
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maji

I tried their foundations and lip gloss. I loved them both and was happy to be supportive to a black owned business but I will think twice about buying from them if they are no longer black owned. I tried to give my business to black owned businesses as much as possible I might support if Fabrice is given a bigger share but I’m not sure I might go to Iman or black opal

Nicola
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Nicola

Black Opal is not black owned.

Neema
Guest
Neema

This just makes me so angry. I really wanted to buy their products but this just puts me off completely. 10 years ago, a friend of mine came out with a really great kids entertainment concept, partnered with the wrong person who stole the idea and sold it to a big corporate. Needless to say, the thief made tons of money. Protect your ideas/businesses people. If you really believe in your business idea/product etc. do the paperwork and protect it. It might seem expensive and tedious but down the line you’ll be greatful you did.

Brianna Nicolas
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Brianna Nicolas

Yep me too stick with black owned. Have you heard of lisi cosmetics?

Neema
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Neema

No havnt heard of it but will look it up. Thanks.….

Lauren Walker
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Lauren Walker

No..thanks 🙂

Ms. A
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Ms. A

After reading that timeline I really feel for Mahabo, the former Owner. You work so hard to get a business off the ground and it seems Mahabo got desperate for a loan and that was the end. I hope I never have to go through that headache.

Punkandglamour
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Punkandglamour

The forged his signature and he should sue them.

MamaChitChatChitterling
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MamaChitChatChitterling

He obviously doesn’t have the money or resources to do so or wouldn’t have needed an angel investor in the first place. Very unfortunate situation.

Chrissie
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Chrissie

So unjust, they won’t get a penny from me.

Kim
Guest
Kim

Not a penny!

Christopher Pierre-Louis
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Christopher Pierre-Louis

One again skin color in a white supremacist culture inspire some to make outrageous choices at the expense of the black owner.

Lynette Evans
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Lynette Evans

BOYCOTT!! BOYCOTT!! BOYCOTT!!

SheridaDaily
Guest

Hmm… This is all very suspicious so I’ll hold off on buying anything until it’s all cleared up…And black owned. Otherwise, yeah I’ll pass.

Ms. A
Guest
Ms. A

You notice a lot of corporate heads are wising up — fronting like its an exclusively black owned product but really not! You can miss me with that multi-cultural crap — Mixed IS Black.

EbonyLolita
Guest
EbonyLolita

Well this decision is not hard. They will NOT get my financial support. Thanks for the info BGLH

Maisha Harris
Guest

It truly broke my heart reading this article to have something that you worked so hard for ripped from you is painful. Black Up Cosmetics was one that I had all over my wish list and now I’m going to have to hold off.

Saran
Guest
Saran

These kinds of situation always make me say ” please black entrepreneurs learn about managing a company. Take seminars and certification courses and so on, NEVER let your company in the hands of someone else to entirely run it under the pretext of being an artist or a creative person, for the finance part constitutes the lungs and the right side of a company’s heart”. I am pretty certain that before all these things happened, there were red flags and clearly he could not detect them.

Cassandre Devotion Davilmar
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Cassandre Devotion Davilmar

Isn’t fashion fair a black owned luxury beauty brand?

marie vera
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marie vera

No not anymore, that was so many years ago. 25+, etc. Even then in my opinion they became the typical majority, black company, that when it becomes large, they’re quick to sale out. They’ll stomp on their own in a minute, for a White person. Typical slave mentality.

Dee
Guest
Dee

Are you guys as critical about the business decisions of white businesses as well? Further, do you guys boycott all white businesses? its just amazing how many people are so quick to wish failure on a company that craters to black women, yet, ya’ll already hoping it crashes and burns simply because the owners are not bad. Is the integrity of the actual product not important?

Olivia J.
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Olivia J.

I agree. I was thinking the same thing just didn’t know how to put it

DrSelina
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DrSelina

If your blues are not like mine, my money will not be yours

Dee
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Dee

Really? What gas station do you do gas at? what grocery store do you shop at? They are all black owned? Well, that’s great! I’m all for supporting black businesses when I can.

Neema
Guest
Neema

Ignorance is not bliss. It doesn’t matter how good your product is. If you conduct business in an unethical manner I cannot support you. If you are blatantly out to exploit me. I cannot support you. Its not just about black v white. Its about the destructive greed that is preventing genuine entrepreneurs from moving forward and realising their dreams. This unethical conduct shows so much contempt for the very people who will be buying these products. Ignoring this will be a big mistake.

Dee
Guest
Dee

Its interesting that a corporate take over is deemed “unethical” by your standards. In my book, that’s business, but i guess that’s where we differ. Just to be clear, I never insinuated that ignorance was bliss. I merely asked whether those that tend to be so critical of black owned companies were also that critical about non black owned companies. The level of scrutiny that black companies face seem hypocritical, if otherwise. For example, before pumping gas at your local gas station are you doing research on their corporate dealings too? How about Johnson and Johnson, L’oreal, or any mainstream… Read more »

Olivia J.
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Olivia J.

I’m happy that these products are available in Sephora and Sephora.com I think they will do very well selling them in Sephora stores.

Karen Love
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Karen Love

I would support the brand because of the integrity and quality of the product offered. It’s not always easy finding brands that CATER to brown skin.

Charlena Thompson
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Charlena Thompson

Uhm.. I could agree with being upset about this if a link to the source was included. We don’t know where BGLH got that snippet from so… Why are we supposed to be all bent out of shape?

desquire
Guest
desquire

Founders who are shareholders are not forbidden from meetings, that is why he is still receiving minutes. If he reads his corporate documents it should specify a method of communication about meeting times and locations (i.e. email notice) unless it was omitted without his knowledge. Also, his ownership cannot be diluted without his signature on the documents. Finally, the angel that became a partner could not do so without Mahabo’s signature on the financing documents. If his signature was forged then his ownership has not been compromised (in law) but it sounds like he doesn’t know that. Ladies (and any… Read more »

Minimal | Assembly
Guest

If this is true: He cannot be banned from meetings as a shareholder. That is why they are sending him the minutes. He is free to attend the meetings but it sounds like he doesn’t know that. Most corporate bylaws specify a mandatory method of communication about meeting times + locations (i.e. email) so he and his partner either left that out of their documents or are not informed. Also, his ownership could not be diluted without his signature on the financing documents. Finally, the “angle” investor could not become a partner in ownership without Mahabo’s signature amending the original… Read more »

MamaChitChatChitterling
Guest
MamaChitChatChitterling

Your response is so disingenuous, considering the fact that Blackup apparently is no longer a black-owned business. Just admit you don’t care and move on.

Dee
Guest
Dee

But you don’t know me, so don’t think your name calling affects me (it doesn’t mean anything to me). Anyways, I’m entitled to question an article and a popular opinion. Jump on a band wagon if you want.

TC
Guest
TC

Instead of creating alarmism without having concrete facts we should be happy that this black owned cosmetic lined has finally got distribution in the US!!!! I use the line and right now it is ONLY available in a beauty store in North Hollywood. So thank goodness Sephora picked up the line. Regardless of ownership status its a cosmetic line that specifically caters to women of color. And as along as that doesn’t change I’m good with that.

Chauncery
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Chauncery

Do you work for the company? Because I’m sick of this happening. I won’t be buying this crap, because of what they did to the owner. Bye Felicia.

Netta
Guest
Netta

But do you think the founder would have been treated this way if he were white??? This is terrible i will not be buying this product ever. I can not believe he got his company taken from him.

Elle78
Guest
Elle78

Never heard of it. I don’t see how it addresses the most critical issue, UNDERTONE! That’s why some Black women’s make-up is a skin color match but fails to address their myriad of undertones leaving them looking like golden Emmy statues, red cigar store Indians, ashy neutral browns or green avocados. Regardless of how white or black your skin, you can have warm, cool or neutral pink-red-brown-yellow-green-blue-purple-orange-peach undertones, There are few brands addressing this for us. Also, BlackUp looks cakey and old fashioned like Iman and Fashion Fair. The silence from the company and Sephora regarding Mahabo speaks volumes though.… Read more »

Adriannan Nonyo
Guest
Adriannan Nonyo

I got the liquid foundation and it came off orangey, I rubbed it in more and it match beautifully and make it look like I was air brushed.

Chevia Small
Guest
Chevia Small

This is why there a company now called TAJJ Cosmetics who specifically caters to women of color…That’s it. They were also just featured in the October issue of Hype Hair & Beuty Magazine. October issue. God check them out.

DLB
Guest
DLB

If this guy is no longer running the company, there is a possibility that the quality of the products may suffer. It is usually the originator of the product/service that knows what is best for its consumers, as opposed to the “investors” involved. It sounds like his original partner saw a goldmine & is trying to undercut him with the company. But in the end, its not going to work because the skills, talents, & gifts of the originator won’t be there. Did he do any copywriting, trademarking, etc. for his products? I’m wondering if any licensing issues involved?

Neema
Guest
Neema

Fortunately, I did do my homework and there is enough evidence to suggest that there is at least some level of truth to the article. Besides, I know from personal experience and the experience of others close to me that this sort of thing happens way too often so I’ll go with my gut and sidestep these products. I don’t need to conduct any further research on their business practises cause the backstory stinks enough for me as a potential customer to make a decision not to purchase. Your 100% correct in suggesting that people do some research before making… Read more »

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

I believe I read that his signature was being forged in another article. He didn’t sign off on these things, but someone was signing off using his name.

Chrystal Davis
Guest
Chrystal Davis

Fashion Fair is not a luxury make-up brand? The line has always catered to women of color in major department stores across the US, and has been around for decades!

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