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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.

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

Hey everybody, let's all take a deep breath, OK?  


I posted the original comment, and it's been fascinating to watch it take on a life of it's own.  But I think we're getting a little too antagonistic here.


Here's the story:  Bite Beauty gave a product an unfortunate name.  I brought it to our attention.  I, and several (many?) others have emailed the company pointing this out.  The next step is theirs, hopefully they will correct it.


Here's what the story is not: Nobody (I hope) thinks Bite did this deliberately.  It was a mistake, caused by a department not doing their due diligence.


Because they are not an American company, it's less likely they would be aware of the term.  That's no excuse.  That's what market research is for.  


Even tho' they are not US based, there was still a good chance that someone at the company would know the term, seeing as it is a seminal song sung by an internationally famous singer.


Americans neither expect the world to know EVERYTHING about the US, nor do they know NOTHING about other countries.  Stop the US bashing, it's not relevant.


Tho' the name describes the horrors meted out to the African-American community, that kind of murderous hate is something that affects ALL of us, the world over.  To dismiss a commentor here as someone speaking thru' "white privilege" is uncalled for.  That's the same kind of condescencion and ignorance that the song is about.


A mistake was made.  This community brought it to the attention of those who can correct it.  we should be proud of that.


Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

But it is soooooo entertaining to watch everyone get fired up.

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

Well said Smiley Happy

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

I just think it's funny to imagine them looking up on the internet every meaning for every word they use for their lipsticks. You'd have to be on some major drugs to be that paranoid of naming a lip colour 'strange fruit'.  Especially with their other names being so innocent and fruity! 

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

i just don't understand this. You say "someone in the company" probably would have known, but that's not how companies work. There isn't a meeting where every single employee sits down and agrees on the name or the design or the idea for a product. That's why there are different departments.


Also, market research is geared towards the consumer. "Are people looking for more peach toned lipsticks or berry tones this season?" "Product A from our competitor didn't do so well, why didn't people like it?" Much more time is spent trying to figure out trends in consumer purchases and repurchases than searching ideas for names of their products to make sure it won't offend anyone.


I just don't get why anyone is upset. It wasn't an intentional choice on Bite's part.

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

Well, I wrote something about this much earlier in the day, but I didn't hit 'reply'. I have sat with it all day and wondered if I should post it or not. I took a lot of time in writing it and tried to be as thoughtful as possible with hopes of not hurting any ones feelings, It's still sitting here and I'm still considering sending it, but I don't think I will, because I don't think it will help. Instead, here are my current thoughts and my proposal.



The way I look at this right now is that we should agree to disagree and stop bickering.


There are obviously 2 major camps, there's the "I agree" camp and the "I do not agree" camp. I am a member of the "I Agree" camp and am truly having a hard time with all of this. At this point, I do not think there is Anything that Anyone can say to make the '"Agree's" or the "Disagrees" feel differently. I think that this is now just a mess of hurt feelings and harsh, hurtful words and it makes me very, very sad.


I'm thinking that the "I Agree's" should 'heart' **Askenjuri's** post - and that the "I Disagree's" should possibly mutter a few choice words about the 'agrees' to themselves and try let it go and let this thread die off.


I know that may be easier said then done. But in an effort to spare the feelings of many, many people (those who have posted as well as those who have not) I'm hoping we can try to do this.


I will hope and pray that this is an acceptable option - I don't like to see this kind of thing and am not great with conflict (and I have a flair for stating the obvious Smiley Wink - since it's obviously no surprise that I don't do well with conflict)


So what do you say ladies and gentlemen? Can we agree to disagree? Because this seems to be going nowhere fast and nowhere good. The thread will likely be closed at some point - but wouldn't it be nice to stop all of this before it comes to that?


Although I have many other thoughts, as I said, I don't think they will help at all. I do hope that this may however be helpful. The chances of changing someones mind seem to be slim to none, so why not just call it a day?


Who's with me? Smiley Happy



Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

I sure am. you put it very well. It is turning into a lot of nastiness and name-calling, I am surprised it hasn't been shut down before this.  This will never be an issue that is "done" and everyone on both sides has very strong emotions and opinions.  Like you said, we have to agree to disagree and move on. Smiley Happy

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

Girl, you know I am. And I truly believe OP was not looking for a debate but wanted to put it out there for those of us who didn't know.


Now we know and we each are free to do what we chose with that information. No further discussion needed, like you said.



Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

Hey white people get called "crackers" and you don't see them running around trying to the word cracker pulled from all kinds of baked flour products. Geeze y'all . I don't think they made it to offend anyone and if it wasn't posted here, you all would have remained oblivious to it and bought it anyways. 

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

It's true. And judging by their other colour names (which are fruity) they meant it literally.

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Well seeing how cracker orignally meant 'whip cracker' and not baked goods made from flour that may be silly. But as for the actual issue, if any makep product was named after any kind of slur or anything relating to murder it would be a problem for me. Unless the name was something like Oreo or Vanilla, then I really wouldn't care and couldn't bring myself to. 


Now, as for the matter of intent or what it was made for, it doesn't really matter. If it's something potentially offensive it's going to offend someone and you can't say 'don't be offended' [which you didn't, I'm just saying]. Like when people tell me 'Oh you're pretty for a black girl', I know they didn't say it to be rude or offend, but that doesn't mean it didn't offend me anyway. 

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

I don't mean to offend here, just asking white people --- does the word "cracker" actually offend you? I mean do you see a cracker box and associate it with yourself and think of it as an offensive term?


Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

No, it doesn't offend me.  I think it's a misdirection tactic some white people employ when talking about racist terms to throw the term "cracker" into the conversation.  Part of white privilege is knowing and recognizing that there isn't a single term that carries any of the weight and power behind racist slurs that applies to white people.  

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

Of course not. I see a box of crackers.  Just like I see cookies when I look at Oreos, and a cleanser when I look at a box of **bleep** and Span.


I am, however, fully aware that many everyday, innocent terms can be used in a negative manner. Someone can ask me to buy them a box of crackers, but I don't expect to be called a cracker.  I'm intelligent enough to know the meaning of both, and I expect others to be also.


So no, when I buy crackers, I don't associate them with myself, except the weight I will gain if I eat the entire box with cheese or dip!


But I don't consider Strange Fruit an everyday word. It's not something you hear all the time, and obviously for many people there is one thing and one thing only that immediately comes to mind. I can see how that is upsetting and unsettling, and I think that's the point being made by the OP.


This isn't a contest to find all the words that should/shouldn't/do or don't upset people. Askenjuri brought up one name that she was pointing out had an extremely negative meaning. And either people are glad to have been informed or people are not. It's up to the individual, but I think we've all made our voices heard enough on this topic!


Oh, and I didn't actually mean for this reply to be directed at you, but after I replied about the cracker stuff, I was kind of on a roll!

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

I'm calling BS on all the ppl who say who would really research something like strange fruit or take the time to research this. A quick Google search of strange fruit would have been enough to not use it. First thing that pops up when I searched was people hanging from trees and articles describing what strange fruit means...yea that took SOOOOO much effort. 

For the record I don't think Bite intentionally used the word to offend but it shows someone didn't do their part by not looking it up, especially since the product is marketed to people in other countries.

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe



Yup, this is exactly what a MarCom person does for a living. At the very least, it means someone completely failed at their job. It's not as simple as someone coming up with what they thought was a novel name. It's their job to check.

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

This is my first time clicking on this post. I have to admit that I am one of the ignorant ones that had no idea what "Strangefruit" even meant. I've never heard the song either. After knowing, I now feel sick to my stomach. I really hope that Bite Beauty does change the name of this lip gloss. I'm, also, really hoping that it was ignorance on Bite's part and not named that out of controversy or to racially jab/hurt others.

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

I can easily say that names and words do matter. There are a lot of good points made and ignorance displayed as well, but here's a couple of facts about naming and marketing:


biggby by coffee is a chain of coffee shops but didn't always have that name. In fact, it used to be called Beaners. I used to stop there every morning oblivious to the fact the name was a racial slur. One of my employees pointed it out to me (he was Caucasian not Latino but educated me in the term).  I was truly appalled and stopped going there for about a week until I wondered if they even knew. I wrote a letter to them (which I'm sure others probably did too) and ta-da! A few months later they changed their name to Biggby and they regained my business and it seems their business is doing great now. Smiley Happy


another example is Kat Von D's lipstick celebutard. It raised a ton of ruckus and Sephora actually pulled it from their shelves due to the offense. It doesn't seem Kat Von D cared much but the lipstick WAS pulled by her vendor.


Names and words matter. I hope even if it wasn't intentional, Bite beauty makes this right Smiley Happy

Re: Bite Beauty gaffe

Hi everyone,


I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend Smiley Happy I'm closing this thread. Thanks for your understanding!


xo, Mia