Rihanna‘s cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has issued an apology after a red highlighter named “Geisha Chic” sparked controversy.
On Friday 29 March, Fenty Beauty shared a picture on Instagram of a new highlighter from its makeup range.
The name of the highlighter prompted immediate backlash from several of the company’s fans who accused the brand of being “insensitive” towards the Asian community.
“Geisha chic? For a brand that wants to be all #woke and inclusive it’s… yikes,” one person commented underneath a post shared by beauty Instagram account @trendmood1.
“This is a brand that wants to be inclusive, and yet… lol I put faith that Riri learned from her ‘Princess of China’ days but I guess not,” another added, in reference to the singer’s 2015 Met Gala look.
Several Twitter users also explained why they found the name of the product offensive.
“Rihanna… explain why Asian targeted racism gets glossed over, it feels even worse when it’s from another marginalised group,” one person wrote.
“Really weird how the entire Fenty Beauty team didn’t catch how inappropriate that name is from the start,” another added.
Following the criticism, Fenty Beauty has removed the highlighter from sale and stated that it will remain unavailable until a new name is chosen.
A geisha, geiko or geigi is a Japanese woman who entertains guests through talents including dance, music and singing.
The tradition of female entertainers in Japan can be traced back centuries.
Some confuse geishas with oirans, who worked as courtesans in Japan.
One Reddit user revealed that Fenty Beauty messaged them directly on Instagram after they left a critical comment underneath the makeup brand’s post.
“We hear you, we have pulled the product until it can be renamed,” the message read.
“We wanted to personally apologise. Thank you so much for educating us.”
Fenty Beauty has since confirmed the validity of the Instagram message.
Several people praised Fenty Beauty for issuing such a quick and apologetic response.
“I like this reply: short, straightforward with an actual apology,” another Reddit user commented.
“Good for them, not only apologising but taking action, and giving no excuses,” someone else wrote.