Sephora closes for half-day diversity training after SZA claims she was racially profiled

May 25, 2019

by Daphne Sorenson

On the morning of June 5, 2019, beauty-store company Sephora is temporarily closing all of its U.S. retail stores, distribution centers and corporate offices for a diversity-training program for company employees. The decision came after R&B singer SZA (whose real name is Solána Rowe) went public with an accusation that she was racially profiled by Sephora. According to SZA, the incident happened on April 30, 2019, while she was shopping at a Sephora store in Calabasas, California. SZA says that she had security called on her because she was wrongfully suspected of shoplifting.

SZA tweeted that day, “Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing . We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy.”

In response to SZA’s complaint, Sephora tweeted: “You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores.”

In a statement on its community page, Sephora announced: “On the morning of 6/5, every Sephora store, distribution center, and corporate office in the US will close to host inclusion workshops for our employees. These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen. Join us in our commitment to a more inclusive beauty community.

Ironically, SZA says she was at Sephora to shop for Fenty Beauty products. SZA was part of Fenty’s lipstick campaign in 2017. Fenty founder Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Fenty, sent a gift card and a handwritten note to SZA that read, “Go buy yo’ Fenty Beauty in peace sis! One love, Rihanna.” SZA shared these messages on an Instagram Story.

SZA is best known for her collaboration with Kendrick Lamar for the song “All the Stars” from the “Black Panther” soundtrack. The song was nominated for numerous awards, including an Oscar and a Grammy.

This isn’t the first accusation of discrimination that Sephora has faced on social media. There are dozens of messages from angry customers who claim that they were racially profiled as potential criminals, even though they say they didn’t do anything wrong.  Sephora has also been getting complaints on social media about discriminating against customers over the age of 40 and customers who have physical and intellectual challenges, by treating them rudely and dismissively. It looks like it took a celebrity to go public with a discrimination complaint before Sephora tried to do anything about it.

Alamo Drafthouse launches film series ‘Intolerable: Reflections of Bigotry and Hatred in Cinema’ in response to Charlottesville tragedy

August 21, 2017

 Alamo Drafthouse logo
The following is a press release from Alamo Drafthouse:
Ten films, 60 years of resistance. In response to the tragic and disheartening events in Charlottesville, VA, Alamo Drafthouse Charlottesville announces “Intolerable: Reflections of Bigotry and Hatred in Cinema,” a  10-feature film series that explores the opposing tension of discrimination and resistance through the lens of the world’s greatest filmmakers.
“Film has long been a powerful tool in exposing the evil of prejudice and castigating those who propagate hate. It’s also served to heal wounds and unite fragmented communities,” said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder & CEO. “Having recently opened a theater in Charlottesville, we were inspired to share films that personify the true spirit and resilience of this proud, great city.”
“Intolerable” begins in Charlottesville Tuesday, September 5th with CABARET and will expand to many of the 28 other Alamo Drafthouse locations across the country over the following weeks. The series also includes GREEN ROOM, BATTLE OF ALGIERS, 12 ANGRY MEN, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, HAIRSPRAY, DO THE RIGHT THING, PUTNEY SWOPE, BLAZING SADDLES, and SELMA.
After select screenings, Alamo Drafthouse will be hosting post-movie discussions, and voter registration will be available on site. 100% of net ticket sales from all of these screenings will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition to the series in Charlottesville, “Intolerable: Reflections of Bigotry and Hatred in Cinema” will also be screening at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in Austin, Dallas, Denver, Ashburn, and San Francisco.  For more details on screenings in all cities, a complete schedule and tickets, visit

My immediate reaction to the violence in Charlottesville was simply one of anger. However, after reflection I find that response misguided. Yes, violence, hatred, and bigotry should NEVER be tolerated, but reacting with anger does little to heal or repair our broken fabric.

Instead, my thinking shifted to one of sadness for our shattered communities coupled with the understanding that no one is born hating people for the color of their skin or their religious beliefs. I began to think how we can support and protect those marginalized while defusing hate in its earliest stages through understanding and education. Most of all, I asked “how can we make our communities better for all?”

In response, the programming team at Alamo Drafthouse has curated a series of films that reflect on bigotry and intolerance. In the hands of great filmmakers, these films uniquely address the complex issues we currently face in America, and are united in their refusal to accept intolerance. We believe in these films and the messages they convey.

We hope this series and these screenings will contribute to positive action that gets us all to a better place.
Tuesday, September 5th

Willkommen! Bob Fosse’s sizzling adaptation of the Broadway blockbuster brings us inside the seedy Kit Kat Club in 1930s Berlin. Singer Sally Bowles falls for sexually ambiguous Brian as dark Nazi clouds rumble on the horizon. Sexy, kinky and full of classic songs, CABARET welcomes you to a decadent world where no one sees the terrible changes happening all around them… until it’s too late.
Wednesday, September 6th

Nazi punks, f%#* off. In Jeremy Saulnier’s brutal GREEN ROOM a small-time punk band runs afoul of violent skinheads, but these aren’t your stereotypical dumb hicks. They’re smart, cunning and they’re led by none other than Sir Patrick Stewart, giving a chilling performance as a man as full of intelligence as he is hate.
Monday, September 11th

There are classic comedies and then there’s BLAZING SADDLES. Mel Brooks’ raucous, juvenile and razor sharp satire of Western movies and American racism goes from low-brow fart gags to high-brow meta-commentary, barely stopping to let you catch your breath. Full of classic lines and infamous sight gags, BLAZING SADDLES mercilessly mocks white supremacy at every turn.
Tuesday, September 12th

Finally, jury duty you actually want to do. Sidney Lumet’s debut film is an electric thriller that just happens to be set entirely inside one room. Twelve jurors deliberate over the fate of a young Hispanic man accused of murder; as they argue and fight they raise questions of morality, justice and American values with which we still wrestle today.

Wednesday, September 13th

A beautiful achievement, Ava Duvernay’s inspirational SELMA focuses on one seminal march in the original Civil Rights era to show us that a movement is more than just one man. While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stands at the center of this story, SELMA focuses as much on the bravery and sacrifice of the people who supported him and stood with him, reminding us the heroes aren’t just the people who get the statues – that every one of us can be a hero.

Thursday, September 14th

A racist Southern police chief meets his match in the form of a black homicide cop from Philly in Norman Jewison’s crackerjack crime yarn IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. The iconic Sidney Poitier looms large as Virgil Tibbs, unwinding a twisty murder mystery while also standing up for his dignity against some good old boys. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT still packs a punch – and still offers hope.
HAIRSPRAY (1988 version)
Monday, September 18th

A glorious blast of good-natured kitsch and positivity, John Waters’ HAIRSPRAY watusis for racial equality and acceptance. When Tracy Turnblad becomes a local celebrity on a 1960s teen dancing show she uses her newfound fame to integrate the dance floor. Waters’ least filthy film, HAIRSPRAY is still unabashedly campy and features a brilliant performance from the legendary Divine.
Tuesday, September 19th

On one hot summer day, on one block in Brooklyn, tensions escalate as the mercury rises. What begins as a normal day in Bed-Stuy ends in a riot, and Spike Lee’s gorgeously shot masterpiece makes us feel the heat and the rage. A clear-eyed, brilliant examination of tensions between races and classes, Lee offers no easy answers and asks us to do the right thing ourselves.
Wednesday, September 20th

Filled with the energy and anger of its late 60s origins, Robert Downey Sr.’s satire of advertising and white supremacy is a great big middle finger being held up to America’s faults and foibles. The token black man on an ad firm board of directors accidentally becomes chairman, and he starts making Black Power commercials and fighting the system from within. The system, as you can imagine, doesn’t take it kindly. Funny and wild, PUTNEY SWOPE is a counter culture classic.

Thursday, September 21st

Telling the true story of the Algerian Revolution, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS is all you-are-there newsreel immediacy. Gillo Pontecorvo’s film has a documentary realness as it brings us through all the steps of inciting and fighting a guerilla war against colonial oppressors. A movie so realistic the Black Panthers used it as a training film, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS is a searing and unforgettable experience.