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Post in Besides Beauty

Bite Beauty gaffe

Hasn't anyone noticed that Bite Beauty has named one of their Lush Fruit Lip Gloss's "Strangefruit"?  Isn't anyone else disturbed by this?


Strange Fruit, since no one seems to know, is the title of a famous jazz song sung by Billie Holliday (among many others).  The song is about the lynching of black men in the Jim Crow South, with their bodies being the 'strange fruit' that Southern trees bear.


Now I don't know anything about this company, maybe they are not American owned or based, so they don't realize the connotations.  I've told this to several people my own age(late 30's) and older and they were all appalled.  To date I have not seen any sign on Sephora (reviews, product Q&A, or here in BT) that anyone notices or cares. 


And that is even more disturbing than the name itself.

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Also posted on their fb page. 

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Or it could just be Strangefruit as in an odd fruit. I don't think companies go around trying to make racial statements with lip gloss. That obviously will not help with their profit margin. It's true that companies will give things certain names to try and be "edgy". Which they are really as about as edgy as a sponge cake but they still try. I don't know, I think anything involving makeup companies and names is just a not worth the outrage. So what if it is a bad term? It's a product and you are not obligated to buy it. I've seen several terms used and felt they were belittling to women and an insult to my intelligence. I'm not going to protest them though because they don't matter. They have no power over me so why pretend to give them any. If the market feels the same then Bite Beauty will feel the pain in their wallets. Instead of getting mad at the name of the color of a lipstick maybe that outrage should be directed at real racism like countries that still have slaves for example. I feel things like this distract from real racism. 

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Wait, I'm confused. I understand that they are a Canadian company so they may not know the meaning. I didn't know the meaning or the song so I googled the word and saw the song, but the description/background said it was written by someone as a protest against lynching and sang to protest racism. So, doesn't that means by using the name you are protesting racism?


Altho if the heaviness/painfulness of the topic is what disturbs people, then I understand that aspect. I didn't know the meaning of the word and just thought strange fruit means...well, strange fruits. o.O

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I am glad somebody brought this up.

When I first had checked out their glosses that was my thought.

Slightly disturbed, more so now after reading a lack of empathy from some and the unawareness of others.

I am 24 and not African American, but that song affects me every time I hear it as if I were 90 and from the South.

It is a chilling song, especially once you hear the meaning behind it and what Billie Holiday saw once as she traveled through the South.

It will break your heart, knowing that at one point in our country, not so very long ago, these types of atrocities against humanity were happening, just because of the race.

I imagine Bite had no intention of using that name for their lip gloss with aligning themselves with such a heavy topic, however, I am glad to see others bring it up and the ones that were not aware, but cared have probably looked up that song.

It's a sad part of the history of America, but it was true and Billie Holiday was courageous to sing about it during that time. 

Thanks for bringing this topic up.

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nhunka and sweetsweetirony, I should get upset about things that matter, huh?  You mean like racism and the murder of innocent men?  When the world has become so shallow and ignorant that a murderous hate becomes just a cute name for makeup, yeah I get upset.  What's next, a fire red lipstick called Holocaust?  


I'm sure you spend your time on the barricades obstructing logging companies, or in court fighting for gender equality, and looking great in your makeup while doing it.  Good for you.  This small ignorance on the part of a beauty company is something I can draw attention to, so I did.  It seems no one else even noticed, or realized what it meant.  Knowledge is power.  And you should be ashamed of yourself, using "hippie" as an insult.  So did George Wallace, but I guess you don't know who that is.


To all the others who posted:  thanks for noticing.  I will email the company.  I didn't mean to imply that it was intended on the company's part, just something that was overlooked by the marketing department.  And like I said, that no one recognized this for what it means, it the saddest comment of all on all of us.  I wonder how many young black women bought this unknowingly.  I hope anyone who has a tube of it would mail it back to the company with a letter explaining why.

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I get that you are upset.  I understand what the name means now and I get it.  What I really don't like is you saying that we didn't recognize it for what it means. You know what, I don't know everything about every country in the world. Certain names, colors and symbols mean different things in different countries. I'm French Canadian and expressions and names from my region are different from other regions. Until you brought this up, it was just a name. You have to understand and respect that not everyone will know everything about everything.  I didn't learn US history.  I learned some as it related to my country but I still don't know everything.


So I think it's good you brought it up, I think it's good you voice your opinion but please don't judge others because they didn't know.  We just simply can't know everything.

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Wow Veronika23, taking this very personally, aren't you?  Of course you can't know everything.  But the Americans on this site should recognize this term.  It's not only our history, but the song is famous, as is Billie Holliday.  Many people in other countries recognize it through their love of music generally, jazz specifically, or of Billie personally.  The song has a very important place in the fight for civil rights, and showed the power of popular culture to protest the wrongs of a society.  


I didn't specify 'Americans only' when I wrote my post, maybe I should have.  And perhaps I would have been rebuked by people from other countries who do know the song and what it means.


But the point is, now a lot more people know what the term stands for, and we can all go on just a little bit wiser.  Surely that's a good thing, ya think?

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Yes.  I agree with your last statement. We know now, and understand why it upsets people so and we can go on being a little bit wiser.


And yeah I guess I don't like it when it's referenced that everyone should know something...


I'm also pretty sure Bite didn't research this for the simple fact that they thought it be a "cool" name with no real meaning except an actual strange fruit that could be the same flashy color as the product. I might have done the same thing being in their shoes. 


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Well said, I also find it very interesting that it was recommended on without any mention of the history.

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Plus, this has more to do with the terminology from a metaphor in music history from what I'm gathering, I've never even heard of, or thought of the term that way.  It's possible they may have said it in the south for a long while, but then since Bite is Canadian, I see this more as a cultural faux pas based on babel.  It's entirely relevant in this region I suppose, but it would be a cute color name elsewhere.

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I've never heard it used or made reference to outside of the song either but I live in the Northeast and in an area with a pretty distinct dialect.


Coincidentally, all of the digital road signs on the highways this morning were set with a flashing message that was hilarious if you are from here but I actually thought it might be confusing to people from other places.  It was "Changing lanes?  Use yah blinkah."

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Actually funny you should mention that, I was driving in Massachusetts today and desperately wanted to get a picture of that but couldn't.  /endrant.

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Lots of people took pictures and posted them on twitter which they really shouldn't be doing at speed in traffic so in hindsight as safety reminder maybe not the greatest idea.


Meanwhile some tourist is sitting in what is some of the worst traffic in the country with some of the most aggressive drivers on the planet and having a moment of panic wondering what a "blinkah" is and if they even have one on their rental car.

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Yeah.  Prior to knowing this and looking at the product it's a cute name for a funky color.

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It's very sad that it was overlooked Smiley Sad and I did a search, the gloss is actually recommended on  

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That is horrifying.  If the black community doesn't know or care about it's own history, that's a sad comment on the state of the world.

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I agree, I was very surprised to see it there

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I'm kind of alarmed at how no one seemed to know about strange fruit and what it meant.  I didn't realize there was a product called "strange fruit" but I absolutely knew the term (and the song, which is haunting and incredible) and was completely repulsed that Bite would, intentionally or otherwise, ignore its history and use it to label a product.  Really disgusting, I will be emailing the company as well.

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I can only speak about the school I went to, but we only really learned about the American history that was relevant to Canada. There was very, very little about African American history in our curriculum. Like we learned about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and slaves fleeing to Nova Scotia (again only learning things that involved Canada), but that was really it. In my classes anyways, I obviously can't speak to what other people in Canadian classes learned. 


This is why I do believe Bite may be ignorant to this. I truly hope they change it

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Same here about History.  It was world history as it related to Canada!

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That makes sense, it's just an unfortunate fact of life that we can't learn everything about world history in school.  However, I was specifically referring to a) Americans who didn't know (which alarms me because it shows how little American schools teach students about American history, nothing against the particular users) and b) that an international company didn't just google the names to avoid exactly this kind of problem (or any other easily preventable problem - the internet makes it hard for me to shrug off incidents like this by thinking the company probably didn't know, simply because the global reach of the information available online and made so easily accessible should be utilized!)