Let me tell you about a bittersweet story. A story about freedom. A freedom delayed.
Today we celebrate Juneteenth with Ronni Tucker, a member of our Luxxe family, makeup artist, and beauty guru. We knew there was nobody better to highlight this day and describe the impact it has had in her life as a black woman in Texas.
Before we get started, we think it's important to cover the basics.
Emancipation January 1,1863
Lincoln issued a declaration that all enslaved people in the states shall be set free.
Juneteenth June 19th, 1865
Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.
Q: Why is Juneteenth important to you?
A: It’s up to me, us to keep these traditions going, tell our children about their history. Black history is American history, my ancestors fought, suffered, and died so I can have the rights I have today, that’s why it’s so important to me.
Q: Tell us about you!
A: I’ve been in the beauty industry for 17 years. I began my career in cosmetics working for Lancôme, and went on to work with other beauty brands such as MAC, Dior, Sephora, and Makeup Forever, which ultimately led me to Luxxe! I was born in Texas, was a military brat, and ended up moving to Washington state around the time that I started school. I lived in a predominantly white community and was the only black girl in my Kindergarten class. When I moved back to South Dallas, which is a predominantly black community, I was taught so much about my culture. In school, our culture was celebrated every day. They taught us about African American history, and made us feel proud to be black. It made me who I am today.
Q: What makes you feel empowered as a black woman in the beauty industry?
A: Waking up every day and doing what I love! As a woman of color, I am proud to have a voice in the community, and I am consistently inspired by other people of color who are leaders in the industry.
Q: What positive changes are you seeing in the beauty industry for the black community?
A: I love that we are now seeing more black owned businesses. There are strong black women in leadership and positions of power, which is really inspiring. I love that cosmetic brands are finally expanding their shade ranges to fit a wider range of skin tones. We are also starting to see more representation in beauty campaigns and branded content.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My first makeup inspiration was Sam Fine, who has been a makeup artist for incredible women like Brandi, Queen Latifah, and more. My mother had his book, and I used to sneak into her room to read it. He has simple techniques, but is very glamorous at the same time with his use of brown tones and golds. I was able to meet him a few years ago in Dallas, and that was such a huge moment for me. I was also inspired early on in my career by one of my trainers at MAC who was a woman of color. She is an incredible artist, was always articulate and professional, and I admired how she was able to move up and hold high positions within the company.
Q: How can non people of color make a difference for women of color in the industry?
A: Open up the conversation. Change can only happen when people genuinely care, come from a good place, and want to make a difference. Educating themselves and others around them can go a long way.
Q: How are you celebrating Juneteenth this year?
A: Family get togethers are a tradition to celebrate Juneteenth. Another tradition that I love is cooking a meal that makes me feel at home and that represents my culture. We always eat or drink something red, which represents the bloodshed of our ancestors. Strawberry soda is part of the tradition as well because in the times of slavery, strawberry soda was considered a luxury. High On The Hog is a great four-part series on Netflix that showcases how African American cuisine has transformed food culture in America.
Q: What do you want our readers to take away from CONSUME today?
A: The black community has a history that we can’t erase. We can never forget what our ancestors went through, but there is also so much beauty in the story. Regardless of what they were going through, they always found a way to make the best of it and take care of their families. Even when given scraps for food, they crafted beautiful meals out of them for their families, and it created the culture and traditions that we see today. If I had to choose tomorrow what color I’d want to be, I’d choose black every time. I love my culture and am proud of who I am.
A huge thank you to Ronni for sharing her story and her perspective with us. To all of our readers, we encourage you to take the time to appreciate and honor African American history today. Let’s raise a glass to the amazing people in our community and celebrate them together.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.”