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Are companies capitalizing on the Black Lives Matter movement?

Last Updated Jun 17, 2020 at 11:38 am MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) – The hashtag is trending but there are worries companies may just be jumping on the Black Lives Matter movement, faking allyship just to sell products.

Activists say commodification of the movement has people profiting off their pain.

“A lot of us have shed blood for this movement, you understand. So we all take it real seriously and close to heart. So if you’re going to look at this movement as a moment to capitalize on what’s going on, we don’t want that type of support,” said Black Lives Matter supporter Kay L.

While companies and celebrities are sharing messages of solidarity, activists are trying to weed out who isn’t here to fight racism and police brutality.

Also trending, Instagram influencers caught using U.S. protests as a backdrop for their personal brands.

“Our protest here, there were a bunch of models there trying to take photo ops thinking it was Coachella or something you know. That really, really bothered me because this is not about that,” said Kay L.

Dev Nicoll-Ellis draws parallels to the Pride movement.

Rainbow-washing refers to using Pride or rainbow imagery to products or advertising showing support for the LGBTQ2+ community, without putting in the tangible work.

“There are a lot of folks who are posting it and not actively doing the work or actively aggressed folks of colour who have worked with them. Say they are too loud, or that they’re not qualified enough,” said Nicoll-Ellis.

Last week, a Calgary gelato company quickly deleted a post and pulled its chocolate BLM Gelato after being called tone-deaf and insensitive.

WATCH: Outrage after gelato company releases insensitive BLM ice cream


The group says you can donate to recommended organizations or just be present at protests.

Kay L believes most people are showing genuine support, but their test is coming.

“We had a meeting about it actually and we gon’ see who sticks around after we ain’t trending no more. Like if we’re no longer the hottest topic in the world.”