Pin It
I can't breathe makeup nails George Floyd trend

‘I can’t breathe’ beauty looks are the last thing we need right now


TextDominic Cadogan

George Floyd’s last words before he was murdered by Derek Chauvin are not a trend

If George Floyd’s murder by white police officer Derek Chauvin – and the unrest that it has sparked across the world – has taught us anything, it’s that people need to do better

Yesterday Munroe Bergdorf called out L’Oréal Paris for its hypocrisy and similarly many brands are now being called out on their social media posts that claim to support black lives, while taking no direct action. 

In a more unsettling trend that is appearing on TikTok and Instagram, beauty fans are attempting to show their support by creating ‘I can’t breathe looks’, many of which disturbingly feature artists in blackface or covered in fake blood – you can’t make it up. To clarify, Floyd’s last words – and a phrase that exemplifies violence towards black people at the hands of the police – are not a trend and never should be treated like one. 

“White/ Non-Black MUA’s, I promise painting ‘I can’t breathe’ on your lips isn’t revolutionary like I really promise that isn’t what we mean when we say be an ally,” beauty influencer Alissa Ashley posted on Twitter, addressing the trend. “Black peoples trauma/reality isn’t a makeup trend. Like y’all can’t possibly be this dumb,” she added when some of her followers said they couldn’t see the issue.

NikkieTutorials also condemned the trend on her Twitter account, saying: “Logging in and actually seeing people creating ‘I can’t breathe’ makeup looks................... friendly reminder: don’t be that person. It’s disrespectful and low, have some respect, sign petitions and DONATE!”

Like many of the creators of these looks – who have either deleted their posts or become private – nail artist @dre.s.nails found herself being called out on social media after she posted nail designs that featured a black man with his mouth covered by the words: ‘I can’t breathe’. However, rather than reflecting on the backlash, she replied to the controversy by trying to divert attention to another nail artist, and a woman of colour. “@queenofnails didn’t get this treatment from the black community, why am I ?,” she said. 

If you’re an independent beauty creator and not sure how best to support black people during this time, speak out, educate yourself and others, and donate to causes that support Black Lives Matters and other black movements if you’re able to. It’s that simple.

Read Next
THE UNSEEN Beauty’s SPECTRA 15
THE UNSEEN launch into beauty with the world's first dual reality makeup News
Billie Eilish debut fragrance
Billie Eilish’s ‘favourite smell in the world’ could soon be yours Beauty news
Kanye West unusual hairstyle
Kanye West celebrates his official name change by hacking at his hairline Beauty news
Ariana Grande r.e.m Beauty
Ariana Grande’s r.e.m Beauty shares cryptic hints about the collection Beauty news
Rihanna – autumn 20214
A step-by-step guide to recreating Rihanna’s rainbow Dazed cover look Beauty Feature
TikTok lube as primer
Help! TikTok MUAs are using lube instead of make-up primer Beauty news
Lena Dunham addresses wedding body shaming
Lena Dunham addresses ‘gnarly’ body shaming comments on her wedding photos Beauty news
Gwyneth Paltrow Goop
Wolverine claws and touchless orgasms: a first look at Sex, Love, and Goop Beauty news
Pa Salieu – autumn/winter 2020
Dat Barber Nat is keeping the fashion industry trimmed and fresh Beauty Feature
Libra_Stars
October 2021 horoscope: find love and peace this Libra season Horoscopes
Bella Hadid
Centuries later, gold skincare is making a comeback Beauty Feature
Botox and filler
England bans under-18s from Botox and fillers to prevent harmful treatments Beauty news
Azealia Banks
Azealia Banks has dropped a ‘Fuck Him All Night’ perfume Beauty news
Cellular MD skin
What is cellular beauty? The beauty trend getting under your skin Beauty Feature
Doja Cat BH Cosmetics Makeup Line
Get Into It: Doja Cat is launching a make-up collection Beauty news
Prada SS22
Virtual make-up and haircuts dominated the catwalk at Prada’s SS22 show Beauty news