To start off, I already know the #Beyhive is going to come for me – do I care, not really.
I don’t get why some people defend celebs like they get paid to, which they don’t. If you’re one of those people, shut up, read what I got to say, and if you don’t like it you can always click the x at the top of your screen – now let’s begin.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you’re familiar with the editorial I released called “Natural Bodies Matter”. In a nutshell, the photoshoot was to give light to different body types, and no matter how big or small you are, you can still be sexy. For me, this was my first time in a bikini in well over 10 years, so it was memorable for multiple reasons.
The bikini I was wearing was in fact from the latest swimsuit drop from Ivy Park. I thought this would be a good way to at least get some type of repost since Ivy Park has been actively expanding their plus-size selection with every release, and I believe I represent a great image of what a confident plus size woman is.
After releasing the photos on Instagram, we had people in our community tag Ivy Park and Beyonce as well. Nothing happened – which I wasn’t surprised at nor upset about, until someone tagged me in the newest Halls of Ivy campaign with the comment saying “I remember you doing something like this”.
You damn right I did, and Beyoncé took it and ran with it.
Now most of you are probably like, your campaign looks nothing like hers – how the **** come it doesn’t?! My team was the only one to release anything like this around the time her team would have been planning content for the next drop. We sent a member of her team direct access to the content in hopes of getting published, and if you break down the picture – from the overall concept, to the colors, placement of set props, and even accessory details, it’s something beyond a coincidence. I was also made aware of the MULTIPLE TIMES Beyoncé and her team have been accused of stealing creative ideas, dating back to 2013 (if not earlier). These accusations include stealing songs from independent artists, video concepts – including the video for Countdown, and photoshoot ideas (the list is, long).
For a small creator like myself, it’s beyond disheartening. We (me and my team) simply wanted a repost – which could have easily resulted in the social media following we all need and led to new customers and clients. Beyoncé has more disposable income than any of us combined and has the means to hire the BEST creative directors & marketers in the business – why steal ideas from us? Why not give us due credit? What’s so hard about that?
For us all being Black influencers and creatives as well, this stings even more. In the creative space, we are still underpaid in comparison to our white counterparts, specifically 29% according to MSL. Could I be wrong that Beyoncé’s team copied us? Most definitely. Do I still feel like this is something beyond just similar concepts and aesthetics? Absolutely. Will I probably buy from Ivy Park again? 90% certain I will. Will I take this any further? 99% certain I won’t.
I say all of that to say, this has given me the confidence to pursue creative directing and editorial styling full time. It’s been a passion of mine that I’ve been toying with for 2 years, and if Mrs.Knowles-Carter did in fact use my inspiration, then that’s reason for a pat on the back for having something worth stealing. This has also solidified me taking my teachings as a styling coach to the next level. On the team consisted of 3 students from the first cohort of my styling accelerator, and this campaign was their final project. Not only did my teaching prove that I know what I’m talking about, but we did get featured by XO Necole, which means they got featured before even stepping foot in the styling world.
Going forward I know what measures I need to do in order to take action for when this happens again (because it’s going to happen again). I’ll also be capitalizing off of this for the new year, and to not take my talents for granted. But best believe – if anyone pulls this stunt again – it’s on site. Pay creators accordingly and credit them if ideas are used.